Ho-Oh, The Rainbow Pokémon. Ho-Oh's feathers glow in seven colors depending on the angle at which they are struck by light. These feathers are said to bring happiness to the bearers. This Pokémon is said to live at the foot of a rainbow. It will reveal itself before a pure-hearted Trainer by shining its bright, rainbow-colored wings.A legend says that its body glows in seven colors. A rainbow is said to form behind it when it flies.
First Johto Pokémon revealed at the end of the first anime episode, being a mystery Pokémon for a long time, eventually being revealed and delivering Ho-Oh was always a powerful threat. Boosting nice coverage and impressive stats, Ho-Oh has been a reasonable threat since its release having strong coverage with moves like Earthquake and Thunderbolt as well as having its own formerly exclusive move Sacred Fire. Ho-Oh has also aged very well and overall improving with gens, namely gen 5 gaining Regenerator as its hidden ability as well as Flame Charge giving it a chance to sweep.
Pressure - Pokémon lose 2 PowerPoint's instead of 1 - Very mediocre ability overall especially compared to Regenerator and overall contradicts Ho-Oh's overall slot as an offensive Pokémon, being a more defensive ability
Phoenix from the Ashes
Making use of Ho-Oh's nice power and healing prowess, this bulky attacker build checks a lot of powerful special threats like Lunala and Calm Mind Arceus. Sacred Fire is a key move, roasting Steel types that Ho-Oh will look to switch in on as well as burn physical threats that can try to check it such as Zekrom and overall add to Ho-Oh's effective health. Brave Bird is the best stab Flying move available to Ho-Oh and more than Sacred Fire due to it having more power points, but you need to be wary of the recoil from both the move and Life Orb. Recover allows you to remain on the field longer and apply pressure for longer as Ho-Oh applies an immense amount of offensive pressure. Lastly Toxic is a great last move to hurt Ho-Oh's counters putting them on a timer or forcing Rest early in the case of Complete Forme Zygarde. Substitute is also nice as it allows Ho-Oh to dodge status moves from is counters and slowly apply pressure to them while Hidden Power Ice allows Ho-Oh to 2hko Mega Salamence after Stealth Rocks and Complete Forme Zygarde after Brave Bird damage.
Aiming more to keep powerhouse threats in check such as Xerneas, Lunala, and Calm Mind Arceus, Ho-Oh pressures threats out with its massive special defense. Sacred Fire is still your go to stab with its high burn rate and in general raw power allowing it to muscle and status its way through threats. Toxic is your other status, allowing you to pressure through Calm Mind Arceus easily as well as work other bulky threats such as Giratina. Recover is the next vital move as it allows you to outlast these threats with constant healing as well as keep it in the game. Finally Brave Bird is the more general move as it lacks the haxing chance of Sacred Fire but has the recoil making it less desirable in some situations. Impish allows for a better tanking ability leaning on Ho-Oh's naturally high special defense allowing it to be countered less easily.
Sacred Bird of Johto
With a Choice Band, Ho-Oh switches into a more offensive focused threat, but can still soak up a bit of damage. EVs make it so you can take a +2 Thunder for Xerneas and live but you can opt for an offensive EV spread to outpace threats from Adamant Excadrill down. Sacred Fire is your Fire type stab, but you need to be wary of spamming it due to the Choice Band. Switch ins don't normally mind the burn and Mega Salamence actually likes it with Facade. Brave Bird is the more spammable move in this set but the recoil is nasty to deal with so be wary of that. Earthquake rounds out the damage of the set, 2hkoing Rock counters such as Tyranitar and Arceus Rock as well as Primal Groudon. Sleep Talk rounds out the build allowing Ho-Oh to be a Spore/Dark Void absorber and allows Ho-Oh to be a bit more flexible, hitting any of its moves but makes it random.
Other Options & Partners
Flame Charge- Flame Charge can be run as a third move as a means to look to sweep or apply more offensive pressure. You can also run a full offensive EV spread but lose the ability to take moves such as +2 Thunder from Xerneas
Teambuilding & Matchup
Ferrothorn - Ferrothorn has the ability to counter a lot of Ho-Oh's primary counters such as Primal Kyogre as well as it's type makes a nice core with Ho-Oh to check most of the Ubers metagame. Ferrothorn also brings hazards, a boon to Ho-Oh as with Spikes support in particular, it can 2hko dome major threats with a Choice Band, notably Complete Forme Zygarde, while the Life Orb version can ad well with Hidden Power Ice.
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Oh, VGC 2016...amid all the MANY Primals and Xerneas, there were actually some "fun" restricted legendaries like Ho-oh. While Ho-oh was not the most dominant Pokemon in last year's controversial format, it did have some early success and was able to wall Geomancy Xerneas and some sets of Groudon. While we may not see an official format like VGC16 again for quite some time, and Ho-oh is banned from most other common doubles formats, it is a powerful option for the few formats and tournaments that do allow it.
Ho-oh and the Order of the Phoenix!
Ho-oh has fantastic defensive potential, especially on the special set. Its attack stat is no slouch either, especially with two very powerful STABs. This set supports the team with speed control, but can also launch strong attacks. Bulk can certainly be invested, but Ho-oh can take a hit or two, so maximum attack and speed lets it become more of an offensive threat. An Adamant nature maximizes this power, but Jolly will (at worst) speed-tie with other Primals, and also outspeed slower Xerneas. While Regenerator was illegal in VGC 2016, it is still the ability of choice and is better than Pressure. Leftovers provides consistent recovery over time, while a Mago Berry (or any other "pinch" berry that restores 50% health without causing confusion) provides a greater recovery once.
Brave Bird and Sacred Fire are very strong STAB moves. Brave Bird provides very strong coverage, and the recoil can be healed off with your item or Regenerator. Sacred Fire is also strong, but can cripple physical attackers with the 50% burn chance. Tailwind provides support to the team and makes up for Ho-oh's middling speed, while Protect is still fantastic to dodge attacks aimed at Ho-oh.
Other Options & Team Ideas
-Offensive items like Life Orb, Choice Band, or the Fire or Flying Z-crystals all increase Ho-oh's offensive power.
Zekrom - Zekrom is one of a handful of Ubers Pokémon that resists Ho-Oh's stab moves and can KO back easily with Bolt Strike. Zekrom however is just a check to Ho-Oh as it can't switch into it due to Sacred Fire's high burn chance which will cripple Zekrom for the rest of the match.
Locations in Games
Black 2/White 2:
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
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