Tyranitar, the Armor Pokémon. Extremely strong, it can change the landscape. It is so insolent that it doesn't care about others. In just one of its mighty hands, it has the power to make the ground shake and mountains crumble.
Tyranitar, the pseudo Legendary of Generation 2 has had a long and storied career as THE most prominent Pokémon around. Its Sand Stream literally shaped the 3rd and 4th generations and has been extremely influential since, enabling Pokémon like Houndstone into terrifying threats. And it is not just the chip from Sand Stream, Tyranitar’s power is top notch too. Base 134 Attack is incredible and Tyranitar as the movepool to abuse it with deadly Rock STAB, Knock Off, Earthquake and more providing wide coverage, and even Tyranitar’s special movepool sees occasional use thanks to a passable Special Attack. And the Armor Pokémon certainly isn’t lacking for defense. 100/110/100 bulk is impressive, and turns downright terrifying given Sandstorm’s Special Defense boost turns Tyranitar into a veritable sponge, able to soak many Special Attacks giving Tyranitar valuable defensive utility as well on top of options like Stealth Rock and Knock Off.
And yet, this generation may be Tyranitar’s roughest yet, with everything going wrong for it. For the first time, there is a dearth of sand users, with Tyranitar’s favored partners in Excadrill and Ferrothorn not returning. Adding onto this is extremely hostile conditions for sand with many popular Pokémon like Kingambit, Gholdengo, Great Tusk, Gliscor, Ting-Lu, Great Tusk, Landorus Therian and Magic Guard Clefable, not only not taking any damage from Tyranitar’s Sandstorm, but beating it soundly. And with these Pokémon often taking up half if not more of most teams, Tyranitar is struggling to make an impact. Tyranitar has always had a myriad of weaknesses and poor speed that have dragged it down, but the outright hostile conditions are now causing these weaknesses to drag Tyranitar under. Terastalization even works against Tyranitar, for as much as Tyranitar would love to shed its weakness laden typing, Tyranitar thrives on the Special Defense boost Sandstorm gives, and every type Tyranitar wants to Terastalize into gets it scoured by its own ability. Tyranitar may be at its worst yet, but Tyranitar’s worst is still far better than most, and with the right partners, Tyranitar may make a comeback.
Sand Stream is an incredible ability that enables all sorts of strategies, weather and chip based and bolsters Tyranitar’s Special Defense to incredibly levels.
Incredible Base 134 Attack ensures even uninvested, Tyranitar hits like a truck.
Good 100/110/100 defenses ensures Tyranitar is far from frail, able to tank a few attacks.
Incredible movepool, from numerous coverage options in addition to STABs, boosting in Dragon Dance and Curse, and support in Stealth Rock and Knock Off enables Tyranitar to fulfill several roles.
Rock Dark is horrid defensively, giving Tyranitar many easily preyed upon weaknesses.
Poor Base 61 Speed makes it easy to wear Tyranitar down and exploit its weaknesses for an easy KO.
Extremely hostile metagame where most teams are packing answers to Tyranitar and not bothered by its Sandstorm.
Terastalization does not work well with Sandstream, forcing Tyranitar to often get chipped by its own Sandstorm and lose its Special Defense boost.
Ability: Sand Stream
Item: Life Orb
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Dragon Dance Tyranitar is Tyranitar at its most offensive, using its great bulk to tank attacks to grab an opportunity to setup Dragon Dance and start beating its usual checks. Knock Off is the move you will be selecting most of the time, not only doing horrific damage in Tyranitar’s hands, but also providing invaluable item disruption, guaranteeing nothing is happy switching into Tyranitar. Stone Edge for secondary STAB provides power when the opponent is itemless and Rock has great offensive coverage in general. Earthquake rounds out the set, providing incredible synergistic coverage with Stone Edge. Tyranitar’s efficacy is improved by Sandstream, chipping targets and negating leftovers healing, quietly pushing them into KO range from Tyranitar’s blistering assault.
Tyranitar is in an odd position regarding Terastalization. On one hand, it desperately wants a Tera that sheds its weaknesses, but on the other hand, getting chipped by its own Sandstorm and losing the special defense boost places Tyranitar on a very short timer. Defensive Terastalization can be vital for grabbing a Dragon Dance. Flying is recommended for a defensive Terastalization, offering resistances to Flying, Ground and Grass, though Tera Ghost is tantalizing for the immunity to Fighting, resistance to Bug and harder to exploit weaknesses. Tera Ground is a mix of offensive and defensive, giving a valuable boost to Earthquake while removing Fighting, Fairy and Bug weaknesses and ensuring Tyranitar is not chipped by its own Sandstorm. Tera Dark is pure offense, pushing Knock Off to new heights and compromising anything that doesn’t resist.
EVs and Items:
Max Speed and Attack are necessary to get the most out of Dragon Dance. Everything into speed is necessary to compensate for Tyranitar’s low base speed. Max Speed Jolly ensures Tyranitar outspeeds even targets like Thundurus and Ogerpon after a Dragon Dance, while Adamant means that Tyranitar can’t even outstrip Max Speed Garchomp. Life Orb gives the most power and move flexibility expected of a sweeper, but places Tyranitar on a very short timer if it Terastalizes to a non Sandstorm immune type. Leftovers is a great secondary option, making defensive Teras more vialbe by enable Tyranitar to heal off the Sandstorm damage and synergizes well if running Substitute. Lum Berry helps answer statuses while Dark Glasses safely boosts Knock Off for no recoil.
Pivots to help Tyranitar get in safely to setup are greatly appreciated. Galarian Slowking is a prime example, its Chilly Reception fantastic for getting Tyranitar in safely, able to dispatch Fairies with Poison STAB and discourages Fighting pivots into Tyranitar like Great Tusk thanks to Future Sight. Tsareena is another great pivot, able to beat Grass and Water types with ease while luring Fire and Poison types in that Tyranitar can easily dispatch, and all this while providing invaluable hazard control. Scizor is great for similar reasons. Hazard setters also work well with Tyranitar, helping pile on damage and reach KOs that much easier. Landorus Therian stands out, immune to Ground and resisting Fighting, making it an excellent pivot, especially with U-Turn. Empoleon is another stellar option, able to pivot with Flip Turn, able to absorb Water, Bug and Fairy attacks and not being chipped by Tyranitar’s Sandstorm. In turn, Tyranitar’s Knock Off helps with the hazard war, removing Heavy Duty Boots that further accelerate the wear and tear the opposing team receives.
Substitute -fantastic given Tyranitar’s ability to force switches for enabling safe Substitute, enabling a safe Dragon Dance setup and protection against Status. Low Kick -wrecks Kingambit, and Ursaluna while doing severe damage to Wo-Chien and Ting-Lu. Ice Beam -unusual for a physical attacker, but many prominent Pokémon that wall Tyranitar like Gliscor, Landorus Therian and to a lesser extent, Great Tusk are horribly weak to Ice Beam, enabling Dragon Dance Tyranitar to act as an effective lure, though Tyranitar desperately needs the Life Orb to consistently OHKO these targets. Ice Punch is more synergistic, especially on other targets. Thunderbolt -Tyranitars best option against Dondozo, but even then it is a 3HKO
Doubles and VGC Options
Tyranitar is a difficult Pokémon to use in Doubles. Its many weaknesses make it hard to play, especially with the prevalence of Ogerpon, Iron Hands, Landorus-T and Urshifu around every corner and general vulnerability to Intimidate. Sand Stream further complicates matters as power as Sandstorm is, bad timing and Terastalizing on your part can wear down your own team as quickly as it does your opponents, and few standout Sandstorm abusers currently available further exasperate matters. However, Tyranitar’s many strengths make it a storm worth weathering. As H-Arcanine has proven, STAB Rock Slide is an incredible STAB move in doubles and the item removing effect of Knock Off is just as invaluable as it is in singles. And even at when it is weak, Sandstorm is a fantastic disruptive tool, countering other weather based strategies and the chip damage is instrumental in breaking Focus Sahs and generating momentum while on the defensive.
Ability: Sand Stream
Item: Assault Vest
Tera Type: Psychic
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 244 Spe
This Tyranitar is an offensive juggernaut, relying on allies Speed Control to get the jump on the opposition while relying on the cumulative boosts from Assault Vest and Sandstorm to weather Special Attacks Tyranitar would not be expected to tank like Specs Flutter Mane’s Moonblast. Rock Slide benefits greatly from the speed investment, giving Tyranitar a chance to proc its 30% Flinch Chance that can help sap an opponent’s momentum and do incredible damage in general. Knock Off is another invaluable disruptive tool, dealing great damage and depriving opponents of valuable items, from removing Choice Bands from H-Arcanine and Dragonite, the Choice Specs of Flutter Mane to the Assault Vest of Rillaboom and Iron Hands, your opponent’s team becomes that much weaker, offensively, and defensively without items. Low Kick Offers coverage against select targets, like Tera Normal Dragonite and H-Arcanine, Roaring Moon, Ursaluna and Kingambit. Tera Blast rounds out the set, Tera Psychic being fantastic for turning Tyranitar’s prominent Fighting weakness into a resistance and eviscerating not only the Urshifus and Amoongus, but crucially Iron Hands as well.
And Tyranitar supports its team in turn with sand, stopping Sun and Rain team’s blistering offenses, while preventing Alolan Ninetails from setting up Aurora Veil. Breaking Chien-Pao’s and Armarouge’s Focus Sashes, or guaranteeing they will be KO’d
Other Options & Partners:
Tera Flying -another great option, trading out the ability to handle Iron Hands for the ability to threaten most Ogerpon forms and Rillaboom.
Stomping Tantrum -good Ground STAB and the bonus is easier to activate in Doubles.
Cornerstone Ogerpon -loves the innate Special Defense boost that Tyranitar provides and offers crucial Grass STAB for threatening opposing Water and Ground types like Urshifu Rapid, Dondozo and Ursaluna. Kommo-o -a physical wall to Tyranitar’s Special, Kommo-O often has the tools to disregard Sandstorm chip, whether from Tera Steel or Overcoat and enjoys the chip damage occurring even when it needs to spend a turn to setup.
Iron Bundle -blistering fast and offers invaluable speed control while effortlessly threatening Water, Grass and Ground types that give Tyranitar trouble while enjoying the many Assault Vests Tyranitar can remove. Hisuian Arcanine -another Rock type that loves Tyranitar’s Special Defense boost and returns the favor with its Intimidate, making Tyranitar physically bulkier in turn.
Dondozo would probably the only true counter to Tyranitar if it wasn’t for Knock Off. Even Thunderbolt merely 3HKOs, but Dondozo eating a Knock Off on the way in and removing its Heavy Duty Boots or Leftovers can completely compromise its walling capabilities. Mudsdale also does well, able to tank attacks easily with threaten back with STAB Earthquake and Body Press, but losing Leftovers is just as disastrous.
Tauros-Aqua also only fears the rare Thunderbolt, but pivots into any other attack well and easily OHKOs with Fighting and Water STAB.
Gliscor is one of the few Pokémon that doesn’t mind Knock Off… provided it has already been poisoned earlier in the battle, and even then fears Ice Beam and Ice Punch. Landorus-T and Great Tusk dislike Ice Beam and boosted Ice Punch but otherwise do well in soaking up Tyranitar’s other attacks.
Revenge killing Tyranitar is viable given its many weaknesses and poor base Speed, but physical attackers are greatly preferred due to how insanely specially bulky Tyranitar can get with Assault Vest and Sandstorm. Banded Meowscarada, Sneasler, Zamazenta, Cinderace and Barraskewda all easily OHKO Tyranitar while still reliably outspeeding Dragon Dance Tyranitar after a single Dance, alongside the many faster Choice Scarf users. If not the list expands greatly given Tyranitar’s low speed.
Locations in Games
Not in game
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen/Colosseum/XD
Snagged from Cipher Head Evice in Realgam Tower Colosseum (Colosseum)
Evolve Pupitar (XD)
Evolve Pupitar (Diamond/Platinum)
Trade from Diamond/Platinum/HeartGold/SoulSilver (Pearl)
Black 2/White 2:
Evolve Pupitar (Y)
Trade from Y (X)
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Trade from Y
Trade from Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Not in game
Dusty Bowl, Roaring-Sea Caves (Shield)
Max Raid Battles: Bridge Field, Dusty Bowl, Giant's Mirror, Giant's Seat, Rolling Fields, Stony Wilderness, West Lake Axewell
Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl:
Evolve Pupitar (Brilliant Diamond)
Not in game
Evolve Pupitar (Scarlet)
Tera Raid Battles: 5 Star Raid Battles , 6 Star Raid Battles