Steelix

Steelix, The Iron Snake Pokémon. Steelix lives even further underground than Onix. This Pokémon is known to dig toward the earth's core. There are records of this Pokémon reaching a depth of over six-tenths of a mile underground. It chews its way through boulders with its sturdy jaws. Its eyes can see in the darkness underground. Tempered underground under high pressure and heat, its body is harder than any metal.

Overview

Steelix does a great job of picking the slack for Onix, and not just in terms of aesthetics. While Onix suffers from uncharacteristically high Speed and low Attack for a Rock-type, Steelix remedies this by turning Onix into a proper tank boasting superior Steel/Ground typing. However, while it fixes the fact that Onix hit like a wet noodle before evolving, Steelix still struggles from its own host of problems. Steelix boasts one of the highest Defenses stats in the game, but that's all that Steelix really has going for it stat-wise, with average HP and mediocre Special Defense bringing it down as a defensive threat. Steelix has an acceptable Attack stat and high powered STAB options to pose a threat as a defensive Pokémon, but its lopsided bulk and lack of reliable recovery ultimately keep Steelix from being a top level threat. Its typing grants it very useful resistances though, despite very problematic weaknesses to Water-, Fire-, Ground-, and Fighting-type moves, so it can function as a tank under the right circumstances. However, if you want a reliable Steel-type to function as a tank, Steelix is probably not quite what you're looking for.
Positives
+ Steelix boasts incredible physical bulk with acceptable base 75 HP and an insane base 200 Defense.
+ Despite an average base 85 Attack, Steelix has access to high powered STAB moves such as Earthquake and Heavy Slam to avoid being too passive as a wall.
+ Steel/Ground grants Steelix many useful resistances and immunities, allowing it to switch into many physical threats.

Negatives
- Steelix has very poor special bulk, sitting at a disappointing base 65 Special Defense. Combined with a lack of reliable recovery, this makes it difficult for Steelix to deal with anything that isn't a dedicated physical attacker.
- Steelix is very slow, which means it will almost always take a hit before retaliating with an Attack of its own. This also makes it very suspective to being quickly worn down.
- As a defensive Pokémon, Steelix offers very little beyond Stealth Rock, Roar, and Toxic support, so it has very little to set itself apart from other options aside from its insane physical defense.

Abilities

Rock Head: Does not receive recoil damage from recoil-causing damages. Steelix has nothing worth using this ability, not much else to say here.
Sturdy: The Pokémon will remain with 1 HP if it was going to be knocked out by a move when at full Hit Points, and it is immune to One Hit KO moves. While Steelix is often not getting KOed by any single physical hit, having the ability to live any single special hit is very useful.
Hidden Ability (Available through transfer):
Sheer Force: Moves with a secondary effect are increased in power by 30% but lose their secondary effect. This is a fantastic ability, but Steelix has very few physical moves that benefit from it so there's very little reason to use this.

Movesets

Stainless

- Heavy Slam
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- Toxic / Roar
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature

Steelix functions best as a tank to take advantage of its decent power while functioning as support for its team. Heavy Slam is Steelix's best Steel-type STAB since it's heavy enough to hit most foes at maximum power. Earthquake is a more reliable STAB move that boasts greater neutral coverage than Heavy Slam, and is particularly notable for threatening Fire-types that otherwise threaten Steelix. Stealth Rock provides useful support for its team, and due to Steelix's physical bulk it can usually find several opportunities to set it up. Toxic allows Steelix to threaten other defensive threats that otherwise have little trouble switching into Steelix, but Roar is an alternative if your team is weak to setup sweepers and has little need for Toxic support.

Maximum HP investment ensures Steelix is as physically bulky as possible, while the rest is placed in Attack with an Adamant nature to give it as much offensive presence as possible. Defense investment is unnecessary while Special Defense investment isn't helpful enough unless you sacrifice significant Attack investment. However, a specially defensive set with Careful nature is also viable if taking hits is more important than Steelix's damage output. Leftovers gives Steelix its only form of recovery, which helps it shrug off weaker attacks and switch in more frequently.

Other Options

- Taunt may seem worthless on something so slow, but it can be useful with some speed investment to shut down other slow defensive threats.
- While Steelix has a terrible Special Attack stat, a Sheer Force set with Life Orb can make use of that Special Attack in restricted settings.
- Rock Tomb doesn't help Steelix itself all that much, but in a 3v3 setting it can be a very valuable tool to maintain momentum for another teammate coming in after Steelix.

Countering Steelix

Steelix's weak point is its awful Special Defense, so any powerful special attacker that can afford to take a Heavy Slam or Earthquake is usually enough to take down Steelix. Despite its insane Defense stat, Steelix lacks any form of recovery so it can easily be worn down even with physical attackers, and Knock Off in particular can put Steelix in a tough spot. Steelix also suffers from very common weaknesses despite an impressive set of resistances and immunities, with Water-, Ground-, Fighting-, and Fire-type moves all being very common even as coverage moves. Low Speed also does Steelix few favors, as this will usually result in Steelix taking a hit before getting a chance to do anything in return. Physically bulkier Pokémon that can afford to take an Earthquake or Heavy Slam can also take advantage of Steelix's limited offensive presence, and attempt to set up if they're careful with the threat of Toxic or Roar. Similarly, Taunt users can shut out any attempts to set up Stealth Rock, which can be devastating for the Steelix user if their team is dependent on getting hazards set up safely. Steelix isn't the kind of Pokémon you can easily take down in one hit, but it shouldn't be too sturdy of a wall for most teams to take down.

Mega Corner

Overview

Mega Steelix is a fairly straightforward upgrade to Steelix as far as Mega Evolutions are concerned. The boosts that Steelix gains upon Mega Evolution simply attempt to improve its ability to function in the same role as it always does, but trading Leftovers for improved Attack and Special Defense. While giving up its only form of recovery might not even seem like an upgrade, the boost to its Special Defense and Attack are a huge step up, allowing it to focus more on being as bulky as possible on both sides. Sadly for Mega Steelix, it doesn't do quite enough to make Steelix all that much better. The decision to give it Sand Force does nothing for it, since it's both weather dependent and offense-oriented which is exactly the opposite of what Mega Steelix needs. The attempt to make it a hybrid offensive tank with huge bulk ultimately falls flat, as Mega Steelix lacks both the Speed and reliable recovery to fit such a role successfully. In addition to its lack of recovery, Mega Steelix still maintains the same typing as before, which means the same flaws of its typing still hold it back. Mega Steelix is most certainly still an upgrade for Steelix, but unlike many of the other ORAS Megas it unfortunately doesn't do quite enough. .
Positives
+ Mega Steelix boasts fantastic bulk, with 75/230/95 defensive stats making it a very capable mixed tank.
+ An improved base 125 Attack means that Steelix doesn't need to worry much about investing into its Attack at all to have an offensive presence.
+ Mega Steelix maintains the same typing as it did prior to Mega Evolutions, which means all of the defensive advantages of the Steel/Ground typing still apply.

Negatives
- Mega Steelix loses out on Leftovers, which means it needs to be careful switching into attacks so that it doesn't get worn down too quickly.
- With Sand Force Mega Steelix essentially has no ability, since it has no real way to make use of it without wasting a moveslot and a turn that it can't afford.
- Mega Steelix is very difficult to justify on a team over just about any other Mega unfortunately, which makes it very difficult to fit onto a team.

Abilities

Sand Force: Ground-type, Rock-type & Steel-type moves have their power increased by 33% in a Sandstorm. This ability only got worse with the nerf to weather abilities, and putting this on a Mega makes it a wasted slot. Mega Steelix really wishes it had an ability it could realistically make use of, because Sand Force is not that.

Movesets

Unbreakable

- Heavy Slam
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- Toxic / Roar
Item Attached: Steelixite
Ability: Sand Force (Sturdy before Mega)
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Impish / Careful Nature

Mega Steelix functions exactly the same as regular Steelix, trading better stats for no recovery. Heavy Slam remains the best Steel-type STAB for Mega Steelix since it only gets heavier, which makes it even more effective than it is for regular Steelix. Earthquake provides a more consistent STAB option though, which also grants greater coverage overall to let it threaten Fire-types and opposing Steel-types. Stealth Rock is very easy to set up with Mega Steelix's huge bulk, and despite its lack of recovery it's almost always getting multiple opportunities to use it throughout a battle. Toxic allows Mega Steelix to wear down opposing defensive threats, while Roar allows it to stop setup sweepers that may try to set up on it otherwise.

Maximum HP and Special Defensive investment gives Mega Steelix as much special bulk as possible, while the choice between Impish and Careful depends on whether you need the extra physical bulk or extra special bulk. Steelixite is required for Mega Evolution, while Sturdy is the ability of choice prior to Mega Evolution. This may seem unnecessary, but there are times where Steelix can't afford to switch out and is unable to take the hit unless it can avoid Mega Evolving to utilize Sturdy.

Other Options

- Stone Edge or Rock Slide can be used to hit Flying-types harder, particularly those that also resist Heavy Slam. However, it's difficult to make room for a coverage move solely for this purpose.
- Curse has no real viability in a 6v6 setting, but a Curse set can work in a 3v3 setting since it can afford to fit a more offensive role in this setting.

VGC & Double Battle Options

Although Steelix is not in VGC 2017 bceause it is not found in the Alolan Pokedex (and its mega evolution would be banned anyway), it is still a fun Pokemon to use in doubles formats where it is legal, such as Battle Spot Doubles. Unfortunately it does require a lot of support to truly thrive and have its stats and ability maximized, though Mega Steelix can become very powerful under Trick Room and in Sandstorms.

Unbreakable

-Heavy Slam / Gyro Ball
-Earthquake
-Rock Slide / Fire Fang
-Protect
Item Attached: Steelixite
Ability: Sand Force (Sturdy before Mega)
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature

Maximum attack with a Brave nature lets Mega Steelix hit hard, but also maximizes its Gyro Ball power and how fast it is under Trick Room. 252 HP EVs make it as bulky as possible. Sturdy can allow Steelix to live any one attack on a switch before it can mega evolve, and Sand Force increases many of Mega Steelix's moves in a Sandstorm.

Heavy Slam and Gyro Ball are Mega Steelix's primary steel STAB moves. Heavy Slam can do high base damage to many Pokemon thanks to Steelix's weight, while Gyro Ball can also do strong damage with how slow Steelix is. Earthquake is Steelix's other strong STAB move, though it has to be careful about potentially hitting a teammate. Rock Slide has good coverage alongside Earthquake, and also works great for getting flinches with how "fast" Steelix can be in Trick Room. Fire Fang, on the other hand, can super-effectively hit Pokemon that resist its other moves, like Ferrothorn, Kartana, or Celesteela. Protect is arguably the best move in doubles, and can allow Steelix to stay safe while you set up Trick Room with its teammate.

Other Options and Team Ideas

-Ice Fang is another great coverage move to hit dragon-types and other Pokemon super effectively.
-Thunder Fang and Crunch are two other coverage moves, while Stone Edge is stronger than Rock Slide and can bypass Wide Guard.
-Curse increases Steelix's already impressive attack and defense, while also makes is slower, which is good for Trick Room or for using Gyro Ball.
-Iron Head is a consistent STAB move and Aqua Tail gives water-type coverage, though both are ORAS move tutor moves.

-Trick Room is almost a necessity for Steelix due to its low speed. Porygon2, Cresselia, Oranguru (who can also use Instruct), and many others make good partners for Steelix.
-Sandstorm unlocks Mega Steelix's true potential in Sand Force, and therefore Tyrantitar, Hippowdon, and Gigalith, who can all automatically setup Sandstorm thanks to their abilities, make good partners. Gigalith deserves a special mention since it is also a great sweeper under Trick Room.
-Flying types or Pokemon with Levitate are nice partners so that Steelix can freely Earthquake. Oranguru also can have Telepathy as an ability to dodge its teammate's move. Wide Guard can also be useful to protect from both your opponent's moves and Earthquake. Gigalith, since it also has Sand Stream, is a notable Wide Guard user.
-Burns can really cripple Mega Steelix's effectiveness, and Spore from Amoongus can waste your turns of Trick Room, so Tapu Fini's Misty Terrain is nice to have.

Countering Mega Steelix

Countering Mega Steelix is almost no different than countering regular Steelix. The biggest difference is that Mega Steelix no longer fears Knock Off or Trick thanks to Mega Stone mechanics. The lack of reliable recovery makes Mega Steelix even more prone to being worn down though, so repeated switching as well as entry hazards can put a lot of pressure on it. Mega Steelix isn't bothered much by Stealth Rock though, and only really needs to worry about Spikes which don't have relevance outside of a 6v6 Singles setting. The improved Special Defense makes Mega Steelix less hopeless against special attackers, so extra caution should be exercised when trying to beat Mega Steelix with special attacks. Even without investment, Mega Steelix still hits fairly hard with its STAB moves so be careful using anything that can't afford to take a strong Earthquake or Heavy Slam. Abusing its common weaknesses to Fire-, Ground-, Fighting-, and Water-type moves is even more important due to Mega Steelix's greatly improved bulk, since it's even more difficult to take down Mega Steelix in one hit. While Mega Steelix will often go down in order to bring down a foe, this is sometimes all it needs so be careful trading KOs with Mega Steelix. In many cases Mega Steelix may care more about getting Stealth Rock up as well, so having ways to remove hazards or prevent them can also put Mega Steelix in a tough spot.


Pre-Evolution Corner - Onix

While Onix may have serious issues being a huge Pokémon with a horrible Attack stat, Onix makes for a very effective Stealth Rock setter in a Little Cup setting due to its great Speed. Its fantastic Defense stat also allows it to take a beating on the physical side, though its poor Special Defense and lackluster typing makes it difficult to take full advantage of this bulk. Access to Sturdy makes it very difficult to take down Onix in one hit though, especially when combined with Berry Juice giving it an easy full restore. Onix struggles from many of the same things that Steelix does, but the Little Cup setting is definitely far less hostile to everyone's favorite Rock Snake.

Light-year

- Earthquake
- Rock Blast
- Stealth Rock
- Taunt / Roar
Item Attached: Berry Juice
Ability: Sturdy
EVs and Nature:
76 HP / 236 Atk / 196 Spe
Jolly Nature

Onix functions best as a lead due to its solid Speed stat and Sturdy, allowing to safely set up Stealth Rock early in the game. Earthquake is Onix's strongest STAB move, allowing it to check Electric-type such as Magnemite while giving it a spammable STAB move. Rock Blast is useful for breaking through Berry Juice users such as Dwebble, and despite its varying power it can be a very powerful STAB option for Flying-types and other threats that don't mind Earthquake. Onix can make effective use of Taunt due to its Speed in order to prevent setup and opposing entry hazards, while Roar can phase out setup sweepers that may already be in a dangerous position. Berry Juice in conjunction with Sturdy makes it very difficult to take Onix down in one hit, which makes it easy to set up Stealth Rock, while the given EV spread maximizes Attack and Speed with the leftovers being put into HP.


Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Evolve Onix

Colosseum/XD:
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Iron Mountain, Snowpoint Temple, Victory Road (Diamond/Pearl)
Iron Island, Victory Road (Platinum)

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Mt. Silver, The Cliff Cave

Black/White:
Evolve Onix

Black 2/White 2:
Clay Tunnel, Twist Mountain

X/Y:
Evolve Onix

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Evolve Onix

Sun/Moon:
Transfer from Generation 6

Animé Appearences

Steelix has made a few appearances in the anime. Most notably, Brock's Onix evolved into Steelix and the Canalave City Gym Leader Byron used one in his Gym Battle against Ash.

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
226 Nerves of Steelix Olivine Gym! Vs. Steelix! Pics
C1 Legend of Thunder Raikou! Legend of Thunder! Pics
273 Playing with Fire!! Blaziken Returns! Battle with Harrison!! Pics
334 All Torkoal, No Play! Breaking Through Steel Valley! Torkoal VS. Steelix! Pics
403 Saved by the Beldum Start The Preliminaries! Morrison Appears!! Pics
405 Shocks and Bonds To The Tournament Finals! Every Day A Heated Battle! Pics
407 Choose It or Lose It Rival Confrontation! VS Morrison! Pics
M8 Lucario & The Mystery of Mew Mew & The Wave-Guiding Hero - Lucario Pics
449 All that Glitters is not Golden Sudowoodo! Legend of Gold! Pics
453 Grating Spaces Brock & Ash! Defend Pewter Gym in Tag Battle! Pics
491 Faced with Steelix Determination! Roaring Steelix! Protect the Bidoof Village!! Pics
517 Dawn's Early Night Pokémon Contest! Hearthome Convention! Pics
529 Team Shocker! Pokémon Contest! Solaceon Convention! Pics
M11 Giratina & The Sky Warrior Giratina & The Bouquet of the Sky - Shaymin Pics
570 Shield with a Twist Hearthome Gym! VS Fantina! Pics
576 Dealing With Defensive Types Canalave Gym! Steel Battle! Pics
578 Steeling Peace of Mind! Riley & Lucario! Pics
579 Saving the World from Ruins The Hidden Ruins of Iron Island! Pics
588 Not Aired Mysterious Creatures: Pokémon Pics
642 Last Call, First Round! Grand Festival! The Art of Flame & Ice! Pics
648 Four Roads Diverged in a Pokémon Port Ash VS Kenny! Setting Sail for Each Destination! Pics
S27 TBC Pewter Gym - The Biggest Crisis Ever! Pics
S37 Pokémon Mega Evolution Special I Strongest Mega Evolution ~Act II~ Pics
S38 Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Mega Special Animation Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Mega Special Animation Pics
M18 Hoopa & The Clash of Ages The Archdjinni of the Rings: Hoopa Pics
M19 Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Volcanion & The Ingenious Magearna Pics
986 TBC Gym Battle! Z-Move VS Mega Evolution!! Pics

 
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