Ho-Oh

Ho-Oh the Rainbow Pokémon. Its feathers are in seven colors. It is said that anyone seeing it is promised eternal happiness.

Overview

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Ho-Oh makes a triumphant return in Generation 8. Few Pokémon have benefited from Heavy Duty Boots as much as Ho-Oh. Now with its main achilles heel negated, Ho-Oh is now free to abuse Regenerator and Defog to its fullest extent. In conjunction with its myriad of resistances, titanic Special Defense and Sacred Fire burns, Ho-Oh’s bulk is immense, able to pivot in repeatedly and fire off uncontested attacks. And Ho-Oh’s offense is nothing to scoff at either. Sacred Fire is extremely spammable as the two biggest Sacred Fire punishes, Primal Groudon and Façade Mega Salamence were left behind in the generational shift. And for the few targets that do resist Sacred Fire cannot tank Ho-Oh’s STAB Brave Bird or Earthquake.

,p> Sadly, Ho-Oh’s reliance on Heavy Duty Boots makes it all the more noticeable when it is not holding them, whether from the start or from Knock Off, requiring extra team support in either eventuality as to not get shredded by Stealth Rocks. The Quadruple weakness to Rock is unfortunate in another way, leaving Ho-Oh vulnerable to be KO’d by targets it otherwise would check. Ho-Oh’s other weakness are also distressingly common, leaving unable to wall staples such as Kyogre despite being an impressive special sponge. Ho-Oh’s lack of Speed is also notable, leaving Ho-Oh liable to be overwhelmed. Regardless of its shortcomings, Ho-Oh has had a watershed generation and is a potent force that must be planned for.
Positives
Titanic 106 HP and 154 Special Defense coupled with Regenerator and numerous resistances enables Ho-Oh as a durable threat, able to switch in repeatedly with little issue.
Base 130 Attack and great coverage between its STABs and Earthquake guarantees Ho-Oh’s targets will be reeling.
Sacred Fire is an amazing STAB move, with an absurd 50% burn chance ensuring even resists dislike pivoting into it.
Fantastic Dynamax abuser thanks to its great HP and access to STAB Max Airstream

Negatives
Major common weaknesses including a Quadruple weakness to Rock prevent Ho-Oh from being the best at walling.
Reliant on Heavy Duty Boots or considerable Entry Hazard support to function.
Due to how oppressive it can be, Pokémon like Lunala and Marshadow may carry Rock moves for the express purpose of defeating Ho-Oh

Movesets

Immortal Phoenix

-Sacred Fire
-Whirlwind
-Toxic
-Roost
Ability: Regenerator
Item: Heavy Duty Boots
EVs and Nature:
248 HP / 204 Def /52 SDef
Impish Nature

Ho-Oh’s defensive set meant to repeatedly pivot into threats such as Dusk Mane Necrozma, Xerneas, Calyrex Shadow Rider and KO them or force them out. Sacred Fire is a fantastic STAB, melting opposing Steel types like Dusk Mane Necrozma and Zacian Crowned, and punishing physical attackers looking to exploit Ho-Oh’s weaker Defense. Whirlwind phazes out many setup sweepers like Geomancy Xerneas, Coil/Dragon Dance Zygarde Complete and Cosmic Power Eternatus, setting them back to step one and perhaps forcing yet another unfavorable match up. Toxic is another great spammable option, punishing Sacred Fire resists like Kyogre, and opposing Ho-Oh. Roost rounds out the set. While yes, Ho-Oh has Regenerator, this enables Ho-Oh to stick around directly without having to pivot out and send a potentially frailer or less suited teammate in while also removing its Flying type weaknesses for better walling.

DYNAMAX:
Don’t. This set is predicated around support and loses all of its utility if it Dynamaxes.

EVs and Items:
EV spread is for the best mix of bulk, greatly shoring up Ho-Oh’s physical defense while still enabling it to take a +2 Modest Xerneas Thunder. Speed investment can be considered -16 Speed EVs enables Ho-Oh to outrun a paralyzed Calyrex Shadow Rider, as well as bulky Groudon and Kyogre. Heavy Duty Boots is mandatory for this set. Ho-Oh can’t wall if it is losing half of its health on switch in.

Partners:
Dusk Mane Necrozma makes for a fantastic Ho-Oh partner, being a reliable pivot into Rock attacks, setting up Stealth Rocks to synchronize with Ho-Oh’s Whirlwind and enjoys Defensive Ho-Oh’s ability to check opposing Ho-Oh.
Groudon is another stalwart ally for Ho-Oh tanking both Rock and Electric attacks with ease while Drought empowers Sacred Fire and weakening Water attacks from the likes of Palkia while Ho-Oh’s immense special bulk compliment’s Groudon’s physical bulk.
Yveltal acts as a back up Ho-Oh, aiding in tanking duties by absorbing powerful blows from Calyrex-Shadow Rider, Marshadow, etc. before KOing back with their own achilles heels while enjoying Ho-Oh’s ability to pivot into Xerneas and non-Wild Charge Zacian.

Other Options:
Defog -provides support for Ho-Oh’s teammates and helps ward against Stealth Rocks in case Ho-Oh’s own boots get Knocked Off. Thunder Wave -Paralyzing sweepers on the switch such as Eternatus, Xerneas and Calyrex-Shadow Rider can stop a sweep before it starts, but other targets like opposing Ho-Oh, Yveltal and bulky Kyogre are not phased by Thunder Wave and would have been better off hitting with Toxic.

Fire from the Heavens

-Sacred Fire
-Brave Bird
-Earthquake
-Toxic
Ability: Regenerator
Item: Choice Band
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Atk /4 Spe
Adamant Nature

Choice Band Ho-Oh is a difficult offensive threat that beats down checks in the early game before coming in the late game with a brutal Dynamax sweep. Sacred Fire and Brave Bird form a brutal 1-2 punch, being extremely spammable STABs with Sacred Fire’s burns and Brave Bird’s general lack of resists compromising the integrity of several defensive staples such as Necrozma Dusk Mane, Ferrothorn, etc. Earthquake provides invaluable coverage against Zekrom, which resists both of Ho-Oh’s STABs, as well as providing extra disincentive for Eternatus to directly switch in. Toxic rounds out the set, being a nice general catch all against the many bulky targets that Ho-Oh has to contend with, like Kyogre and Yveltal, weakening them for elimination later. And thanks to Regenerator, Ho-Oh can remain active in both the early and late game, enabling a unique blend of offense and defense. .

DYNAMAX:
Ho-Oh loves Dynamaxing, especially in the late game when all of its checks have been KO’d or weakened sufficiently breaking the Choice lock and bolstering its already impressive HP. Brave Bird becomes an apocalyptic Max Airstream, shoring up its lackluster Speed and providing an amazing STAB not crippled by poor PP or Recoil. Sacred Fire shifting to Max Flare provides Ho-Oh some insurance against the Rain and does ramp up Ho-Oh’s own fire prowess. Max Quake is another amazing option, making Ho-Oh even more unbreakable via Special Attacks

EVs and Items:
Max HP and Attack to give Ho-Oh the best blend of bulk and offense it needs to repeatedly switch in. Choice Band provides nice instant power that makes Ho-Oh difficult to wall. Life Orb does provide more flexibility, but at the cost of compromising Ho-Ohs bulk, as the damage quickly escalates with Brave Bird recoil. Heavy Duty Boots is as always, fantastic on Ho-Oh and worth consideration to keep it healthier longer. Weakness Policy can be considered for a traditional Dynamax sweeper, but that is a one shot deal and loses out on Ho-Oh’s strengths to repeated come in.

Partners:
Allies that can clear Stealth Rocks are vital for Choice Banded Ho-Oh’s function. Lunala stands out, thanks to its ability to clear Stealth Rocks with Defog, phaze with Whirlwind and abuse the status Ho-Oh can spread with Hex. Do note that multiple defoggers are required, so other picks like Yveltal and Giratina are also worth consideration.
Blissey stands out as a partner thanks to its ability to handle both Kyogre and Eternatus while providing clerical support against paralysis and Toxic and appreciates the anti-Entry Hazard support that Ho-Oh requires in the first place.

Countering Ho-Oh

Ho-Oh’s largest flaw, both directly and indirectly, is its massive Rock weakness. Surprise Rock coverage from Necrozma-Dusk Mane, Dialga, and Lunala can lure and eliminate Ho-Oh with surprising ease. Stealth Rocks are a constant thorn in Ho-Oh’s side as well, and thus Ho-Oh often takes measures to avoid them. Knock Off Ho-Oh’s Heavy Duty Boots or eliminate its Defogging allies and Ho-Oh’s defensive ability drops significantly, preventing it from walling its normal targets.

Kyogre also provides Ho-Oh numerous problems, with its massive Special Attack and STAB bolstered by Rain, it can eviscerate Ho-Oh despite its fantastic Special bulk while safely pivoting in on Sacred Fire, Roost and Defog. However, Kyogre does struggle to tank Choice Band Brave Birds/Max Airstreams.

Zekrom may dislike eating a Sacred Fire burn or Earthquake, but otherwise, safely pivots into Ho-Oh’s STABs and threatens an easy OHKO with its own Electric STAB.

Ho-Oh’s speed is often unimpressive, tending to favor Bulk investment over speed, leaving Ho-Oh more vulnerable to faster offense that can take it apart before it can act. Scarf Kyogre, Regieleki, Palkia, and Scarf Dracovish can all outspeed and overwhelm Ho-Oh, though revenge KOing Ho-Oh is difficult outside of a one hit KO, as it will often retreat and heal out of the damage threshold at the first sign of danger.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Tin Tower

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Navel Rock (Emerald)
Trade from Emerald/FireRed/LeafGreen/Colosseum (Ruby/Sapphire)

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Navel Rock

Colosseum/XD:
Complete Mt. Battle in Battle Mode after Purifying all 48 Pokémon (Colosseum)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Trade from HeartGold/SoulSilver

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Tin Tower

Black/White:
Transfer from Generation IV

Black 2/White 2:
Transfer from Generation IV

X/Y:
Trade from Omega Ruby

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Sea Mauville (Omega Ruby)
Trade from Omega Ruby (Alpha Sapphire)

Sun/Moon:
Trade from Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Ultra Space Wilds

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

Sword/Shield:
Dynamax Adventures

Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl:
Ramanas Park (Brilliant Diamond)
Trade from Brilliant Diamond (Shining Pearl)

Legends: Arceus:
Not in game

Anime Appearences

Ho-Oh has made a few appearances in the anime. Most notably one keeps appearing to Ash to help him find his way

# -English Episode Name- -Jp. Episode Name- Pics
1 Pokémon! I Choose You! Pokémon! I Choose You Pics
229 For Ho-oh the Bells Toll Suicune and Eusine! Legend Of Ho-oh!! Pics
275 Gotta Catch Ya Later! Farewell...and then Setting Off! Pics
M6 Jirachi - Wish Maker The Wishing Star of Seven Nights - Jirachi Pics
454 Battling the Enemy Within Battle Pyramid! VS Regirock! Pics
472 Dawn of a New Era Piplup VS Budew! Dawn's First Battle!! Pics
M11 Giratina & The Sky Warrior Giratina & The Bouquet of the Sky - Shaymin Pics
M12 Arceus & The Jewel of Life Arceus - Towards Conquering Space-Time Pics
M13 Zoroark - Master of Illusions Phantom Champion Zoroark Pics
M20 Pokémon I Choose You! Pokémon I Choose You! Pics
1098 Finding a Legend The Pledge We Made That Day! The Ho-Oh Legend of the Johto Region!! Pics