Torkoal, The Coal Pokémon. Coal is the source of Torkoal’s energy. Large amounts of coal can be found in the mountains where they live. If the fire burning within its shell goes out, it will die. Those who wish to raise one in their home must always keep something flammable at hand.
Torkoal has been an overshadowed Pokémon since its release, being a slow but bulky fire. While this is a nice combo, Torkoal came out in a bad gen for it dominated by Tyranitar and bulky waters and then Heatran got released the next generation. Torkoal however gained a new lease on life in Sun and Moon gaining a new ability, Drought allowing Torkoal to spearhead sun teams as another option to Ninetales or with it as a secondary inducer for pure sun teams.
+Drought makes Torkoal threat with its bonus to fire moves as well as negating its water weakness with suns .5 multiplier to water
+Torkoal is decently tanky allowing it to survive more hits than Ninetales
-Torkoal isn't tanky where it matters. Most attacks Torkoal wants to come in on are fire, fairy, bug, or grass, three quarters of which are mostly special based negating Torkoals 140 Defense
-Torkoal's pure Fire typing makes it vulnerable to Stealth Rocks, losing a quarter of its max health just entering
-The weather nerf from X and Y makes it so you have to choose between extending weather duration or picking a more offense/defensive item such as Leftovers or Choice Specs
White Smoke - Prevents opponent's moves from dropping your stats - Not bad but its this vs Drought
Drought - Starts Sunny Day upon entering - As we saw in BW weather is very strong and can make some subpar Pokémon amazing. This really dragged Torkoal out from the depths
Hidden Ability (Available)
Shell Armor - Prevents Critical Hits - Nice to avoid hax but bad overall
Item Attached: Choice Specs/Grassium Z/Heat Rock
EVs and Nature:
248 HP/8 Atk/252 Sp Atk
Aiming to break through threats with the raw power of Drought, EVs are offensively focused. Fire Blast will be the main stab move of the sat having massive damage amplified from the secondary stab bonus of Drought. This allows Fire Blast to be easily spammed in fights against even threats that resisted as Drought and basically negates their resistance with the fire multiplier. Solar Beam earns the 2nd slot with its super effectiveness against water types there are likely to try and switch into Fire Blast. With Drought in effect Solar Beam loses its one turn charge of time as well. Next slot is open to either Earth Power or Earthquake based on the item you choose to use. With Choice Specs Earth Power is over all better due to the multiplied bonus of your special attack while most other sets can argue benefit more from the mixed ability of Earthquake against some tanky rocks such as Tyranitar. Last slot is open for utility, Yawn is nice as it forces a switch where it's one turn sleep while put Toxic can be used to stall out bulky waters that switch in as well as Landorus Therian, tanky ground target they can easily KO Torkoal. Lastly Rapid Spin can be used to remove hazards negating the necessary of a Pokémon to remove hazards for you. However it should be noted that you have no form of recovery making this a less optimal move. With items, Choice Spec is the best due to it amplifying your decent special attack however the Grassium Z can be used with Solar Beam outside of Sun for Bloom Doom to one shot a lot of grass type threats. Finally Heat Rock is an option to prolong the effect of Drought.
- Lava Plume
- Sleep Talk
Item Attached: Heat Rock
EVs and Nature:
248 HP/8 Def/252 Sp Def
While the lesser aims to take benefit from Droughts offensive pressure this set aims to keep Torkoal in the game as long as possible with its defensive abilities. Rest has to take a slot due to it being your only recovery move outside of protect leftover stalling. As such sleep talk synergizes very well with the move allowing you to maintain ability to use moves while healing . Lava Plume earns the next slot as your only damage dealing move as well as a stab move to benefit from Drought. Lava Plume has a 30% burn chance allowing it to be used as a fire version of Scald. Last slot is open for either Toxic to wear down tankier targets that don't care as much about a burn such as Tangrowth or Roar prevents are being set up on by threats such as Zygarde or Volcarona. Lastly Heat Rock is the best move item for this set due to the focus prolonging the are duration of Torkoal the match however leftovers are an option.
Other Options & Partners
Hidden Power - Torkoal's movepool is pretty barren where it needs coverage so this can be used to aid that.
Shell Smash - While it is an amazing boost move, Torkoal is just too slow to use it.
Zapdos - A top defogger Zapdos soft checks water types, as well as ground types with its flying neutrality. While Zapdos is mostly physically defensive based it still can come in on a lot of threats to Torkoal such as Landorus without Stone Edge and Dugrtio. Zapdos also brings the ability of a free switch in with Volt Switch which should it run it.
Charizard - Both Mega forms of Charzard benefit from Torkoal's ability to maintain a Drought. While Charizard Y can self induce Drought it should be noted that Torkoal's ability to control hazards with a more defensive set as well as its Heat Rock ability further boost Charzard's utility and raw power. With Charizard X, while slightly weaker than Charzard Y, the boosted power to Fire Punch and getting the effective resistance to water types due to sun's .5 multiplier. This makes it more tanky allowing it to boost further with Dragon Dance or tank easier with a Roost Will o Wisp set
Tangrowth - Being the best ground counter in tier Tangrowth synergizes very well with the ability to basically straight counter rain solo. This is further boosted by Torkoal's drought ability further increasing its natural resistance to water types. On Torkoal side it can easily switch into ice types and bug type moves aimed for Tangrowth and spread status make it easier for Tangrowth wall out targets
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Poor Torkoal was completely nonexistent from VGC and other doubles formats in the past, but Sun and Moon gave it a bright new gift. Torkoal's new ability, Drought, introduced the coal Pokemon to the exclusive club of automatic weather setters, and the only sun user in VGC 2017. Torkoal’s very low speed and access to Eruption make it a premier Trick Room sweeper, and it had a lot of success early in the season. Unfortunately, a few major problems for Torkoal began to appear on more teams, especially Gigalith, who has no problem switching in on an Eruption as it sets up its own weather. Despite these threats, Torkoal is such an imposing threat under Trick Room or next to its Chlorophyll partner, Lilligant, that every trainer must consider how to survive its power in team-building.
-Heat Wave / Flamethrower
Item Attached: Charcoal
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Torkoal’s main goal is really to just spam high power Eruptions, whether under Trick Room or with support from Lilligant’s After You. A Quiet nature (ideally with a 0 speed IV) allows Torkoal to move first under Trick Room, as it has the lowest base speed of any Pokemon other than Pyukumuku in VGC17. Max special attack investment with a boosting nature maximizes Torkoal’s damage output, while the investment in HP gives it good bulk. Drought is the reason to use Torkoal now, as the sun boosts its fire attacks and weakens water moves against it. Charcoal boosts Torkoal’s fire-type moves even further, and is a much better choice than a Life Orb since you cannot afford to weaken Eruption’s power with the recoil every turn.
As long as Torkoal is in good health, Eruption is generally the move you will click. At full or close-to-full health, Eruption is one of the best moves in the game, with very high power, perfect accuracy, spread damage that hits both opponents (but not a teammate), and no drawbacks (at least until you start losing HP). Heat Wave or Flamethrower are alternative attacks once Eruption’s base power weakens. Heat Wave still does spread damage, but the accuracy is not perfect. Flamethrower does have perfect accuracy, and more importantly, it can hit around a potential Wide Guard from Pokemon like Celesteela or Araquanid trying to block your Eruption. Solarbeam is a very strong coverage move against Tapu Fini or Gigalith, and does not require a turn to charge thanks to Torkoal’s Drought. Protect is great in doubles, especially if Torkoal needs to stay safe while its teammate sets up Trick Room, or eliminates a threat like Garchomp or Gigalith.
Other Options & Team Ideas
-Charcoal is the most used item on Torkoal, but Firium Z is in my opinion the best item choice. No matter how much HP Torkoal has left, Inferno Overdrive receives Eruption’s full base power, and the damage output is scary in the sun. A sun-boosted Inferno Overdrive will OHKO even bulky Tapu Lele, and can KO both Porygon2 and Snorlax after some chip damage. Unless you need your z move elsewhere, Firium Z deserves serious consideration for Torkoal’s item choice.
-Choice Specs is one of the most used items on Torkoal, but does require some more planning. Losing Protect gives Torkoal another moveslot for a fire or coverage move, but Torkoal needs a safe switch-in if you set up Trick Room. Locking Torkoal into Eruption is an issue if it loses a lot of health too.
-Grassium Z is not very common and has limited effectiveness, but can do a lot of damage to Tapu Fini or Gigalith, even in sand.
-Fire Blast and Overheat are stronger options over Heat Wave or Flamethrower, but of course have their own drawbacks, so they are typically only found on a Choice Specs set.
-Nature Power is another personal favorite. This move can turn into Moonblast, Energy Ball, Thunderbolt, or Psychic depending on the terrain (and the latter three all gain a terrain power boost). While it does need some team support (or luck, if you opponent sets up the terrain you want) to pull off consistently, it can greatly expand Torkoal’s role. Probably the best use of Nature Power is in Tapu Bulu’s Grassy Terrain, as a terrain-boosted Energy Ball is even stronger than a normal Solarbeam, and does not matter if the sun is up or not. Other fun uses include surprising a Gyarados with an OHKO from Thunderbolt, taking a chunk out of Garchomp with Moonblast, or hitting Nihilego with a boosted Psychic.
-Earth Power is not VGC 17 legal since it is only found from the ORAS move tutors, but can provide additional coverage, especially against Heatran or opposing Torkoal in formats such as Battle Spot Doubles.
-Lilligant and Torkoal is one of the best leads in VGC17. Torkoal’s low speed ensures its weather should always stay up to start the battle, giving Lilligant a big speed boost thanks to Chlorophyll. With access to After You (for fast Eruptions) and Sleep Powder, Lilligant supports Torkoal well, or it can also fire off a strong Bloom Doom or Leaf Storm before the opponent moves. Other Chlorophyll users like Venusaur benefit from Drought in other doubles formats.
-TR users are naturally perfect partners for Torkoal. Some notable ones in VGC17 include Oranguru, Porygon2, and Mimikyu. Mimikyu is typically chosen for how reliable it can get up Trick Room thanks to Disguise. Oranguru was popular early in the season, especially with its move Instruct, which can let Torkoal use Eruption a second time. Porygon2 simply has fantastic bulk to set up Trick Room reliably, and can support Torkoal with great coverages moves, such as Ice Beam (for Garchomp) and Thunderbolt (for Gyarados).
-As previously mentioned, each of the Tapus can be considered should Nature Power interest you, but Tapu Bulu deserves serious consideration regardless. Grassy Terrain gives Torkoal a bit of recovery to keep its Eruption power high, weakens Earthquake from opposing Garchomp, and can boost any of the grass moves Torkoal runs. Tapu Bulu also greatly threatens Tapu Fini and Gigalith, two Pokemon who take Eruptions well.
-Mudsdale also works well under Trick Room, and has no problem taking on Gigalith thanks to its bulk, typing, and Stamina. Garchomp can also threaten Gigalith, especially with Tectonic Rage.
-Aside from helping set up Trick Room with Fake Out support, Hariyama works great under Trick Room, especially with Guts and a Flame Orb. Hariyama’s Feint can stop your opponent’s Pokemon from stalling out your Trick Room while Torkoal attacks and Close Combat threatens Snorlax, Gigalith, and Porygon2.
Dugtrio - With Arena Trap Dugtrio is almost a full counter to Torkoal due to its ability to survive the initial hit of any move with focus sash and easily KO back with Earthquake. While slightly gimmicky it is still worth noting.
Pelipper - With a secondary flying type against neutrality grass moves preventing Torkoal from removing it with Solar Beam. Furthermore Pelipper has access to Roost along to recover and stall out Torkoal better than Torkoal can stall it. Its utility is further boosted with access to U-turn to allow it to maintain momentum
Zygarde - While not as much for the Dragon Dance variance Zygarde with Coil can easily counter Torkoal due to it being able to set up Substitute on and negates status moves of Torkoal. After this without Roar is impossible for Torkoal to break through Zygarde forcing a switch, losing momentum. While the Dragon Dance variant is more susceptible to Burns from Lava Plume or a Will-o Wisp it's still worth noting that Zygarde's speed and typing to allow it to negate gain resistance to Torkoals main stab move Fire Blast. However it should be noted that while Drought is active it technically negates Zygarde's resistance to fire due to the bonus 1.5 multiplier
Locations in Games
Not in game
Fiery Path (Ruby/Sapphire)
Fiery Path, Magma Hideout (Emerald)
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
Stark Mountain, Route 227
Transfer from Generation IV
Black 2/White 2:
Transfer from Generation IV
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Route 12, Blush Mountain