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Kingdra

Kingdra, The Dragon Pokémon. Kingdra lives at extreme ocean depths that are otherwise uninhabited. It has long been believed that the yawning of this Pokémon creates spiraling ocean currents. Kingdra sleeps on the seafloor where it is otherwise devoid of life. When a storm arrives, the Pokémon is said to awaken and wander about in search of prey.

Overview

The second final stage Dragon type Pokemon, Kingdra is the much needed improvement of Seadra. As the ace of Clair in Johto, Kindra often left an impression on players as it resisted many types and was only weak to the rare Dragon type, making it a nightmare for some players to actually break. Kingdra is one of the rare cases of a Pokemon getting arguably better with age as it gained new tools culminating at its peak in Black and White, where it was the primary Swift Swim user to get the combination of it and Drizzle banned. Kingdra has maintained its niche in dedicated Rain teams but now plays second fiddle to Mega Swampert, as the rise in Fairy-types and the higher demands in offense make it slightly harder for Kingdra to compete. Regardless, the addition of Z-Moves adds another layer to Kingdra that still makes it a real threat on a proper team.
Positives
Swift Swim - Kingdra is the objectively the second best Swift Swim user behind Mega Swampert. This is a great boon for Kingdra as it can apply a lot of pressure without giving up a Mega slot which is nice to have in a wide range of formats as it allows you to use rain with some other Mega. However there isn't much reason to not use Mega Swampert, as on a Rain team it is the best Mega to use.
Typing - Kingdra's typing is fantastic with Water/Dragon having only 2 weaknesses. The bigger boon however is quad resistance to Fire and Water allowing Kingdra to be an excellent check to Water and Fire threats as well as give resistance to Steel. This gives Kingdra plenty of chances to switch in and notably gives resistances to Aqua Jet and Bullet Punch.

Negatives
Stats - With the lowest base stat of 75 and capping out at 95, Kingdra's stats are a double edged sword. 95 in both defensive stats combined with typing means Kingdra can be rough to break through without big power but on the flip side, 95 in both offensive stats is no longer impressive due to power creep. This relegates Kingdra to using Choice Specs or a Z-Move most of the time to help it actually deal damage and can make it set up fodder against experienced players.
Rain Dependence - Kingdra's lackluster offensive stats make it really dependent on Rain as it can no longer hold its own as a Dragon Dance sweeper in the higher tiers the same way it can with Rain support. This means that in standard play it's very restricting in team building as there is no reason to use Kingdra outside a secondary rain sweeper, which admittedly isn't a bad niche for a Pokemon that normally sits in the lower tiers of viability.

Abilities

Swift Swim - Doubles Speed in Rain - Just a great ability overall and lets Kingdra be a linchpin in Rain teams, typically the only reason to use Kingdra these days.
Sniper - Raises Critical Hit damage by 1.5% - While this is usually worse than Swift Swim, Sniper can be used in niche situations with Focus Energy if Baton Pass support is available.
Damp - Negates the use of Self Destruct, Mind Blow, Aftermath, and Explosion - By far Kingdra's worst ability as it is too situational to really be worth it.

Movesets

Rain Sweeper

-Hydro Pump
-Draco Meteor
-Surf
-Ice Beam
Item Attached: Choice Specs / Waterium Z
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs and Nature:
252 SpA /4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature

The Swift Swim set, Choice Specs is needed to amp up Kingdra's power in a 6v6 though Waterium Z is the preferred item in a 3v3. Hydro Pump is the best option as it gets a STAB boost, and with the rain Rain boost it becomes very hard to tank. Draco Meteor is there for another spammable STAB and good for when Rain isn't up and you need to use Kingdra. Surf is more for a Water option that isn't shaky in the accuracy department but Hidden Power Fighting can be used to hit Ferrothorn if you're desperate. Ice Beam rounds out the set for coverage against Grass walls such as Tangrowth and Amoonguss. Kingdra is capable of giving up Surf for Rain Dance as well to set up Rain for itself and help manual Rain teams in lower tier formats alongside Tornadus.

Kingdra really needs all the offensive power it can get, so a Modest nature with maximum offensive investment is necessary. Waterium Z and Choice Specs are both valid in any format, but Waterium Z shines in a 3v3 due to the increased flexibility and more difficulty switching into it. Likewise Choice Specs shines in a 6v6 setting since the safe middle ground of clicking a Water STAB without using a Z-Move is preferred here.

Dragon Dance

-Rest
-Dragon Dance
-Waterfall
-Outrage
Item Attached: Lum Berry / Chesto Berry
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs and Nature:
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature

Dragon Dance Kingdra can be a terrifying thing for face without a good wall to answer it. Waterfall and Outrage have near neutral coverage, missing out on a handful of Pokemon and are both good power moves, though the confusion of Outrage can hurt. Rest is a nice final option to heal off status from boosting or just give Kingdra a second lease on life due to it needing multiple boost to really do anything.

Generally speaking there isn't much reason to use this set over the rain set in standard play, so this is primarily used in lower tier formats where it excels more with its lackluster offenses. The maximum offensive investment is necessary for Kingdra to really be a threat since it needs all the power it can get, while the choice in nature depends on if the extra power or speed is necessary. In a lower tier format Speed tiers are lower though so Adamant nature tends to have extra merit. Lum Berry tends to be a better catch-all status cure berry which allows Kingdra to handle a burn or paralysis, though running Chesto Berry is perfectly valid so that you can rely on Rest to also heal damage once.

Critdra

Agility
-Draco Meteor
-Focus Energy
-Surf / Hydro Pump
Item Attached: Scope Lens
Ability: Sniper
EVs and Nature:
252 SpA /4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature

A very gimmicky set, Scope Lens ups the chance of Critical Hits and when combined with Focus Energy makes boosts it to a 100% chance. Agility allows Kingdra to sweep with its high damage Draco Meteor which ties very well with this set due to critical hits ignoring stat changes, which includes the Special Attack drops. Surf or Hydro Pump round out the set for a secondary STAB and gets picked based on accuracy or power.

Offensive investment is necessary for Kingdra to actually be a threat even with guaranteed critical hits, and Modest nature is chosen for power since Agility provides plenty of Speed. Scope Lens as mentioned before is necessary since it boosts the critical hit level by one, which allows for 100% critical hits after the two stage increase from Focus Energy.

Other Options

Mixed - Not as good as it used to be, Mixed Dragon Dance or Wallbreaker Kingdra is still an option. With Hidden Power Fire to break Ferroseed/Ferrothorn or Hidden Power Electric for Empoleon, Kingdra can than let loose with its STAB options while leaning on a Life Orb to help bump up its damage.

Partners

Pelipper - The best Drizzle users, bar Kyogre who is often Primal anyway, Pelipper is an excellent partner for Kingdra as its one of two weather inducers with access to a reliable recovery move, making it a great user of Damp Rock. This combined with Hurricane, Scald, Defog, Toxic, and U-Turn for tech options allows it to flex very well to the team.
Magneton/Magnezone - Empoleon and Ferrothorn are hard counters to Kingdra making the Magnet Pull users Magneton and Magnezone excellent partners based on the tier used. In standard play Magnezone is the best and also helps Mega Swampert who can struggle with Ferrothorn, while Magneton is nice in other formats with Tornadus Rain teams as well as being bulkier due to Eviolite.

VGC & Double Battle Options

Kingdra is the type of Pokemon that you usually don't think about in Double Battles until you run into the one rain team using it, but it's always sitting there right around the corner. The rise in Fairy-types has made it tougher to use Kingdra and while weather isn't omnipresent it common enough that Kingdra needs a lot of support to properly take advantage of the rain. It also has to compete with Mega Swampert on rain teams, though thankfully Kingdra actually has an edge in Doubles due to being a Special Attacker and having a spread move that doesn't risk hitting its teammates. Kingdra also benefits greatly from the addition of Z-Moves giving it an option to nuke something with its powerful rain-boosted STAB moves, so it is definitely not a Pokemon to underestimate. However, it's not for no reason that you don't see it all that often. Kingdra is heavily dependent on rain and tends to be a sitting duck without it, and its power is very dependent on Water STABs which can easily worked around for some teams. However, rain teams will always prey heavily on teams without solid rain answers and Kingdra still continues to be a valuable asset to these teams if you're willing to work with its needs.

Tidal Wave

- Muddy Water
- Ice Beam / Draco Meteor
- Hydro Pump
- Protect
Item Attached: Waterium Z / Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature

Kingdra is very straightforward, use rain-boosted Water-type moves to overwhelm the opponent and do everything possible to ensure that rain support remains in play. Muddy Water may have a somewhat annoying 85 accuracy but it's still a dangerous STAB move in the rain especially combined with the nasty 30% accuracy drop. Ice Beam is primarily for Dragon-types and Grass-types such as Mega Salamence, Kommo-o, Amoonguss, and Tapu Bulu, though it's necessary in order to not be completely walled by them. Draco Meteor can be used as an alternative that hits Kommo-o harder and also provides better neutral coverage and power, though the Special Attack drops are highly undesirable and Misty Terrain makes it a bit unreliable. Hydro Pump doesn't exactly help with Muddy Water's accuracy problem, but it's much more powerful for situations where you need to remove a single threat and also much stronger as a base for Hydro Vortex. Protect exists, even if it burns rain turns there are definitely going to be times where you want to protect yourself from damage.

Kingdra needs a Modest nature and maximum offensive investment to deal as much damage as possible, even if it has rain helping it out. Swift Swim is also naturally a requirement for a rain sweeper as it turns Kingdra's average base 95 Speed into a huge advantage. Waterium Z allows Kingdra to instantly delete anything that doesn't resist Water-type moves, and can sometimes even pick off foes that try to use Protect or otherwise soften them up for an attack next turn. Life Orb is a valid alternative though, providing a general increase in power to all of Kingdra's moves and making Muddy Water even more dangerous. This does make Kingdra easier to pick off with priority though.

Other Options

- Choice Specs can be used if you only care about clicking Muddy Water though this comes at the cost of locking into a move which can be tricky against teams with good Water resists. It's a bit overkill but it does make it easier to blow back teams that lack good answers to rain teams.
- Substitute can be used over Protect if you're a prediction god and can take advantage of the forced switches when using rain, though it's harder to pull off in current generations since there are more options for dealing with rain.
- Pelipper or Politoed are naturally going to be mandatory teammates with Kingdra since it needs to get the rain support somewhere. Pelipper tends to be preferred due to providing Tailwind support to exert even greater offensive pressure. However, Politoed can be paired with Shadow Tag to provide a Perish Song backup depending on the team setup.
- Shadow Tag itself is useful when using weather teams since it can lock down the foe's ability to switch into their own weather or rain checks. Mega Gengar is the obvious choice here due to its huge offensive presence, though doesn't want to deal with Tyranitar so it leans a bit on Kingdra to deal with that.

Countering Kingdra

Ferrothorn/Ferroseed - Resisting both STABs, Ferrothorn is a hard counter to Kingdra, especially its Dragon Dance set as Leech Seed in combination with Iron Barbs and being Outrage locked can wear it down very fast. In Rain, Ferrothorn is the best answer as it doesn't have to fear Hidden Power Fire, only the neutral damage of Ice Beam, all the while stacking hazards.
Empoleon - The original hard counter, there are few Pokemon that have as hard a counter as Empoleon is to Kingdra. While Ferrothorn resist both STABs, Hidden Power Fire can just rip it apart, Empoleon however is nowhere near that easy. While it is less durable due to its base stats, Empoleon has no fear of Kingdra due to its focus on Special bulk, even with Hidden Power Electric, while it can simply hit Kingdra with Toxic or Roar it out.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game.

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Evolve Seadra.

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Evolve Seadra.

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Evolve Seadra

Colosseum/XD:
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/FireRed/LeafGreen.

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Evolve Seadra.

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Evolve Seadra.

Black/White:
Route 17, 18, P2 Lab.

Black 2/White 2:
Route 17, 18, P2 Lab.

X/Y:
Evolve Seadra

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Evolve Seadra.

Sun/Moon:
Evolve Seadra.

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Evolve Seadra

Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Not in game.

Animé Appearences

Kingdra has made a few appearances in the anime. Most notably, one was used by Clair in her Gym Match against Ash

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
M3 The Spell of the Unown The Lord of the Unknown Tower Pics
C4 Pikachu's Winter Vacation: Delibird's Dilemma Delibird's Present! Pics
Pikachu's Winter Vacation: Snorlax Snowmen White Story! Pics
218 Dueling Heroes Whirlpool Cup! Great Battle in the Water Colosseum! Pics
254 Fangs for Nothin' Blackthorn City Gym's Dragon's Fang! Pics
256 Better Eight Than Never Blackthorn City Gym! The Final Badge! Pics
271 The Ties That Bind Tournament Finals! Full Battle 6 vs 6!! Pics
804 Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin! We've Come to Kalos Region! Dreams and Adventures Begin! Pics
827 An Undersea Place to Call Home! The Castle on the Seabed! Skrelp & Dragalge!! Pics

 
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