Donphan

Donphan, the Armor Pokémon. Donphan is covered in tough hide, so even being hit by a car won’t faze this Pokémon. However, it is extremely susceptible to rain. Donphan is normally a calm Pokémon, but once it is enraged, it will curl its body into a ball and charge at you while rolling.

Overview

With the reveals of Great Tusk and Iron Treads, there was excitement that Donphan was actually getting an evolution. In a cruel twist of fate however, despite being based off Donphan, Great Tusk and Iron Treads are very much their own beasts. Albeit covering a near identical niche to Donphan, leaving little reason to use our pachyderm pal over its caricatures.

Which is a shame, as this has been a running trend with Donphan for a while. It has always plied its trade as a Sturdy Rapid Spin user, utilizing its great Defense and access to Stealth Rock as a reliable means of hazard control. And Donphan is far from passive -its physical prowess is excellent having incredible coverage on top of STAB Earthquake which hits hard even uninvested. But crippling low Special Defense, common weaknesses and speed drag Donphan down. And whether is Mamoswine and Excadrill in the past, or its Paradox forms now, Donphan has consistently had stiff competition for its role. At least it can hold its head high for inspiring two new behemoths.
Positives
Base 120 Attack and STAB Earthquake is an incredible combination, ensuring even the most defensive builds are not passive.
90/120 Physical bulk is impressive, ensuring Donphan can tank hits without relying on Sturdy
Excellent movepool with great support options in Rapid Spin and Knock Off as well as coverage in Seed Bomb, Play Rough and Ice Spinner

Negatives
Base 50 Speed is pathetic. Donphan will have to take a hit before dishing one out, compromising its defensive integrity.
Horrid Special Defense and commonly Special weaknesses leave it simple to take Donphan down with Special Attacks.
No reliable recovery hurts potential as a physical wall.

Movesets

Tactical Elephant Incoming!

-Earthquake
-Knock Off
-Ice Spinner
-Ice Shard
Ability: Sturdy
Item: Assault Vest
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SDef Adamant Nature

Assault Vest Donphan charges onto the scene using its bulk to pivot into powerful attacks and force switches while racking up damage with its own Moves. STAB Earthquake is an incredible move with few drawbacks, denting anything that isn’t resistant/immune to it. Knock Off is another incredibly spammable attack, forcing an Item loss on any potential switch in. Ice Spinner punishes most Grass and Flying switch-ins who are expecting an Earthquake in addition to having excellent coverage against Dragons and the potential upside of removing an opposing Grassy Terrain is nice. Ice Shard rounds out the set, giving Donphan an answer to its speed and enabling picking off weakened targets that would otherwise be safe due to its low speed.

Tera Types:
Donphan can either defensively Terastilize with Tera Steel to turn its weaknesses into resistances and make the most of its good Defense or go for truly devastating Earthquakes with Tera Ground.

EVs and Items:
Max HP and Attack to balance out bulk and offense since speed is rather poor. Assault Vest is the lynchpin for this set, giving Donphan a great deal of pivoting power, but could easily be swapped out for a Choice Band for more offensive might.

Partners:
Iron Jugulis and Charizard love Donphan as a partner, for its ability to stave off Electric and Rock attacks and provides a clean answer to most Electric types while having complimentary offenses and directly answering Grass types (and Orthworm) that give Donphan the most trouble. Slowking is another admirable partner to Donphan having the special bulk to compliment Donphan’s physical, can setup Trick Room and enables a nasty one two punch with Future Sight+Chilling Reception that can blow by some of Donphan’s normal counters.

Other Options:
Rapid Spin -Entry Hazard removal is always invaluable
Stone Edge -hits many Flying types harder than Ice Spinner but is a bit less reliable.

Tired Old Tire

-Rapid Spin
-Stealth Rock
-Knock Off
-Earthquake
Ability: Sturdy
Item: Heavy Duty Boots
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef
Impish Nature

This set is meant to provide support and entry hazard control to the rest of the team. Rapid Spin clears only opposing hazards, which is a potent advantage in that you don’t need to reestablish in turn from your own move. Stealth Rocks is the best move in the game and can wrack up damage quickly especially with how Donphan’s Defense and typing often force switches. Knock Off is here for utility, punishing the mainly flying Defoggers that expect a free switch in on Earthquake or Stealth Rock as well as depriving offensive and defensive threats of the items they need to excel. Hitting the Rapid Spin Immune Ghost types is another reason to take it. Earthquake rounds out the set as a great pressuring tool and answering Gholdengo who easily blocks Rapid Spin.

Tera Types:
Tera Steel is the go to for this set, greatly increasing Donphan’s defensive profile.

EVs and Items:
Maximum HP and Defense investment to optimize Donphan as a physical wall, in turn increasing the number of times it can come in and Rapid Spin/setup Stealth Rocks. Its poor base typing and special bulk leave that role better handled by a different teammate. Heavy Duty boots is great for Protecting Donphan from Spikes and Toxic Spikes, which otherwise can cut into Donphan’s bulk quickly. If only expecting to deal with Stealth Rock, Leftovers is good for continued durability.

Partners:
Florges is a fantastic Special Sponge that compliments Donphan’s Physical Walling capabilities. Offering Clerical support in Wish and Aromatherapy helps Donphan path up its own self recovery woes.
Flying types love Donphan answering Electric and Rock types wwhile clearing away Stealth Rocks, thus freeing them from running Defog and Heavy Duty Boots on their own. In turn, they Solidly answer the Grass types that give Donphan so much trouble.
Volcarona also loves Donphan for clearing away Stealth Rocks and can pivot into Grass and Ice moves reliably while quickly answering STAB users.

Other Options:
Body Press -with full investment into Defense, this becomes a strong option. Also, Donphan’s best answer into Orthworm whose Earth Eater and great Defense normally stifles Donphan.

Countering Donphan

Physical Walls remain a perennial thorn in Donphan’s side, able to stave off its assaults. Corviknight takes pittance from every move and can easily wear down Donphan in turn, but it does detest losing its Heavy Duty Boots. Orthworm fares similarly, using its incredible Defense and Ground immunity to stop Donphan, though Body Bress does sting. If not running Choice Band, that pool increases significantly -Slowbro and Dondozo can even reliably take non Banded Seed Bombs and KOing or setting up in turn.

Revenge KOing Donphan is laughably simple. Its weaknesses are common and with such poor speed and Special Defense, most Special Attackers if given a free switch will KO Donphan or bring it down to Sturdy.

Stopping Donphan from perform its support role is far more difficult. Normally Ghost types would be the answer for their ability to stop Rapid Spin, especially Mismagius thanks to its Ground Immunity, but Knock off and STAB Earthquake prevent most from being a clean answer. But switching in on a predicted immune move and burning Donphan with Will-o-Wisp does make Donphan far more manageable. 

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Mt. Silver, Route 28, Victory Road (Silver)
Route 45 (Crystal)

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Evolve Phanphy

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Evolve Phanphy

Colosseum/XD:
Evolve Phanphy (XD)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Evolve Phanphy

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Route 28, Mt. Silver, Victory Road (HeartGold)

Black/White:
Trade from Black 2/White 2

Black 2/White 2:
Evolve Phanpy

X/Y:
Evolve Phanpy

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Safari Zone, Mirage Cave

Sun/Moon:
Transfer from Generation VI

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Transfer from Generation VI

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

Sword/Shield:
Not in game

Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl:
Evolve Phanpy

Legends: Arceus:
Not in game

Scarlet/Violet:
Asado Desert, South Province Area Six, West Province Area Two
Tera Raid Battles: 4 Star Raid Battles

Anime Appearences

Donphan has had multiple appearances in the anime. Most notably, Ash's Phanpy evolved into one during the Battle Frontier and helped Ash defeat a variety of trainers

# -English Episode Name- -Jp. Episode Name- Pics
M1 Mewtwo Strikes Back Mewtwo's Counterattack Pics
122 Roll On, Pokémon Donphan's Valley! Pics
148 Tricks Of The Trade Wobbuffet and the Pokémon Exchange! Pics
P4 Pikachu's Pikaboo Pikachu's Hide & Seek Pics
383 Beg, Burrow and Steal Trapinch & Vibrava! Lake of Illusion! Pics
391 Date Expectations Rollout! Loving Donphan! Pics
399 Deceit And Assist! Fierce Fighting! Grand Festival! (2)! Pics
407 Choose It or Lose It Rival Confrontation! VS Morrison! Pics
408 At the End of the Fray The Last Fierce Fighting! The Road to the Championship!! Pics
431 Reversing The Charges Startling! Frightening! Elekid! Pics
433 From Cradle to Save! Bonsly & The Ninja School! Pics
435 Queen of the Serpentine Fierce Fighting at the Battle Pike! VS Pike Queen Lucy! Pics
436 Off the Unbeaten Path! Who Single-Handedly has the Victory!? Pokemon Orienteering!! Pics
438 Odd Pokémon Out Grovyle VS Tropius! Grass Field Battle! Pics
440 Cutting the Ties That Bind Sceptile! Dawn of Revival! Pics
453 Grating Spaces Brock & Ash! Defend Pewter Gym in Tag Battle! Pics
459 Aipom and Circumstance! Aipom & The King! Pics
M9 Pokémon Ranger & The Temple of the Sea Pokémon Ranger & The Prince of the Sea - Manaphy Pics
P9 Pikachu's Island Adventure Pikachu's Mischievous Island Pics
460 Strategy Tomorrow - Comedy Tonight! Chatot & The Pokémon Comedian! Pics
468 Home Is Where The Start Is The End Of a Journey! The Start of A Journey! Pics
524 The Keystone Pops Spiritomb & The Odd Keystone Pics
540 Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu (2) Pokémon Ranger! The Wave-Guiding Riolu! (Part Two) Pics
563 Battling the Generation Gap Pokémon Contest! The Celestic Convention! Pics
609 Challenging A Towering Figure! Tower Tycoon! That Man, Palmer! Pics
M13 Zoroark - Master of Illusions Phantom Champion Zoroark Pics
650 An Old Family Blend! The Eve of the Fierce Fighting! The Big Gathering of Ash's Pokémon! Pics
651 League Unleashed! Opening! Sinnoh League - Suzuran Tournament!! Pics
653 Working on a Right Move! Trick Room of Terror! Ash VS Conway! Pics
803 Dream Continues! My Dream: Pokémon Master! Pics
M19 Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Volcanion & The Ingenious Magearna Pics
M22 Pokémon The Power of Us Pokémon: Everyone's Story  
1157 Advice for Goh! Rivals for Goh?! The Road to Mew!! Pics
1203 Friends, Rivals, Lend Me Your Spirit! Fire Training Battle! Ash VS Paul!! Pics
1207 Battling as Hard as Stone! Ash Heads Into Battle! VS Steven!! Pics
1212 Bewitch, Battle, and Bewilder! The Semifinals II: Dazzle Pics
1213 Valor: A Strategic Part of Battling! The Semifinals III: Valor Pics
1214 TBC The Semifinals IV: Impact Pics
1218 TBC The Finals I: Torrent Pics
1219 TBC The Finals II: Toying Pics
1220 TBC The Finals III: Smashing Pics
1221 TBC The Finals IV: Partner Pics
1224 TBC Pokémon! I Am Glad I Got To Meet You Pics
1226 TBC The Wind of Beginnings! The Eon Path!! Pics