Salamence, The Dragon Pokémon. Salamence is an unusual Pokémon in that it was able to evolve a body with wings just by constantly wishing to be able to fly. While basking in the joy of flight generally keeps this Pokémon in high spirits, Salamence turns into an uncontrollable menace if something angers it.
Salamence might have lost its Mega Evolution, but with Dynamax, it now becomes one of the most fearsome Pokemon to face on Singles mode. Similarly to what Gyarados did early game, Salamence also has access to Moxie, however, Salamence is faster which means that it will be able to outspeed more threats at +1 and thanks to its decent coverage moves, it pretty much has a move for most of its checks. However, what sets Salamence apart is its access to Dual Wingbeat which is a much more useful move outside Dyanamax (compared to Bounce) which also has the utility of breaking Focus Sash. Salamence's high Attack stat, decent bulk and Speed makes it a good choice for a sweeper.
Unfortunately Salamence also has certain shortcomings. For starters, its x4 weakness to Ice makes it incredibly easy to OHKO, specially from the likes of Mamoswine who can revenge kill it with Ice Shard. Salamence is extremely reliant on Dynamax as otherwise it won't be able to gain its Speed boosts with Max Airstream and snowball through the opponent's team. Outside Dynamax, Salamence is a mediocre Pokemon. Salamence also faces stiff competition from Dragonite who can exploit Multiscale extremely easy with Dynamax and it can use a Weakness Policy much more effectively while having access to a priority move in Extreme Speed.
Moxie is an incredibly powerful ability that combines extremely well with Max Airstream as it will allow Salamence to gain Attack boosts for every opponent it OHKOs while gaining Speed from its main STAB move.
It's fantastic base 135 Attack and 110 Special Attack allows Salamence to hit hard from both sides of the spectrum while having an excellent movepool that can take advantage of it.
While base 100 Speed is just decent, with some Speed boosts, it can outspeed several opponents after a +1 boost.
Salamence's over-reliance on Dynamax to sweep holds him back as it becomes a completely average Pokemon outside it. Without Max Airstream, Salamence will become easily outspeed by opponents such as Dragapult, Garchomp and Naganadel.
A fatal x4 weakness to Ice makes it easy to kill as Pokemon like Glastrier and Mamoswine can easily check it.
Bulky walls like Cresselia and Hippowdon can take on Salamence without Attack boosts and easily force him out.
- Dual Wingbeat
- Fire Blast / Fire Fang
Item Attached: Life Orb
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Naive / Jolly Nature
Salamence is an extremely threatening Pokemon once it triggers Moxie while building up on Speed boosts thanks to Max Airstream. Dual Wingbeat is the STAB move chosen because it is much more reliable than Fly and it also breaks Focus Sash on frail Pokemon like Pheromosa. Outrage is Salamence's secondary STAB as it allows it to hit hard targets that don't take too much damage from its Flying STAB like Zapdos and Rotom-Wash. Earthquake is absolutely necessary as it allows Salamence to hit Pokemon like Metagross and Heatran for super-effective damage. Fire Blast is the last recommended move as it allows it to hit Celesteela as hard as possible during Dynamax. Fire Fang takes advantage of its Moxie boosts but comes at the expense of depending on Moxie boosts to make it deal damage.
The main reason why you would want to use Salamence over Dragonite as a Dynamax sweeper is due to the former's higher Speed which allows it to outspeed more foes at +1. Max Airstream and Moxie are a deadly combination as Salamence can hit extremely hard with its STAB while gaining Attack & Speed boosts for every OHKO without the need to set up. Max Wyrmind has the advantage of hitting Flying resists like Zapdos harder than anything else. Max Quake deserves a shout-out since it increases Salamence's Special Defense which may come in handy against weaker Ice move users like Suicune. While Max Flare seems to be the less beneficial max move, it allows Salamence to hit harder with a Fire attack for the next turn.
EVs and Items:
Max Attack and Speed is what allows Salamence to maximize its sweeping potential. At +1, Salamence will be able to outspeed notable threats such as Dragapult. Life Orb Salamence's best option for immediate power while Dynamaxed.
Salamence can use Dragon Dance on one of its moves in exchange of sacrificing coverage, which will make Salamence much mess reliant on Dynamax sweeping.
Urshifu Single Strike can become a powerful ally that is capable of threatening Ice types like Weavile and Mamoswine while being able to check Dragapult with Sucker Punch. Regieleki deserves a shout-out as it can set up screens which will allow Salamence to become harder to take down. Salamence appreciates partners that can check opposing Dragon types that can outspeed it without a boost, which makes Tapu Fini an ideal partner since thanks to its STAB Moonblast, it can check Pokemon like Latios or Dragapult. Rotom-Wash can gain momentum for Salamence while being able to check bulky Water types that can retaliate back against it.
VGC & Double Battle Options
Salamence has enjoyed a long history as a VGC staple. Possessing high Speed, a Flying type and Intimidate always leave Salamence a serious consideration for any VGC team, though it faces extremely stiff competition from Landorus-Therian. While the loss of its Mega Evolution is unfortunate, Salamence remains a significant VGC threat, able to run physical offense, special offense or support, allowing it to fit on a large variety of teams. However a crippling weakness to Ice and Rock, alongside strong competition in all of its roles prevents Salamence from taking center stage as the VGC Super Star.
Item Attached: Assault Vest
EVs and Nature:
252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 252 Spe
This set is meant to act as support in a doubles match while still providing significant offensive threat. Intimidate and Bulldoze are a potent combination, dropping opponents Attack and Speed by 1 stage, neutering most physical offenses before they can begin. Bulldoze with minimal Attack can trigger an allies' Weakness Policy to help them setup. Draco Meteor and Air Slash are STABs of Choice, choosing Special STABs to dodge opposing Intimidates and to not worry about tanking Salamence's Attack from minimizing damage from Bulldoze. Draco Meteor has massive power and switching out after using it suits Salamence fine for triggering Intimidate again. Air Slash is the more reliable STAB whose Flinch chance pairs well with Bulldoze, as a Flinch can completely change the course of a battle. Heat Wave rounds out the set, striking down Steel types that resist Salamence's STABs and won't be taking much from the nerfed Bulldoze as well as giving Salamence a spread move option.
This set is not intended to Dynamax, that is ideally meant for Salamence's partner who will Dynamax to take an utter pittance from the Bulldoze, though Salamence can pull it off in a pinch, with the Speed Boosting of Max Airstream and the drawback-less Attack dropping Max Wyrmwind allowing it to double down on its support role.
EVs and Items
Speed and Special Attack are maximized so that Salamence gets the Bulldoze off as quickly as possible and can hit as hard as it can with its Special Attacks. Assault Vest pairs well with Intimidate, making Salamence frustratingly bulky, able to stomach a nonSTAB Ice Beam from Porygon2 with no investment, along with Tapu Fini Moonblasts, Grimmsnarl Spirit Break, Nasty Plot Boosted Galarian Moltres, etc. All enabling Salamence to get that vital Bulldoze off. Attack is minimized so that Bulldoze does not hurt Salamence's partner as badly.
Metagross, Rhyperior and Tyranitar all benefit from Salamence's Bulldoze, able to Dynamax, take pittance from the Bulldoze, trigger their Weakness Policy and proceed to Sweep. Metagross is by far the best, taking care of Opposing Fairy and Ice types and nulling the Speed Drop with Clear Body. Rhyperior is slow enough that the speed drop generally doesn't concern it, while Tyranitar remains the least among these due to actually having enough speed for Bulldoze to be troublesome.
Urshifu Single Strike partners well with Salamence, threatening opposing Ice and Steel types with its Fighting STAB and having Sucker Punch to counter priority and Dragapult, though does unfortunately stack a Fairy Weakness. There is also an interesting tech option with Bulldoze and Lash Out, but Urshifu does not like getting its Speed Dropped and would prefer to Protect/Detect.
Item Attached: Weakness Policy
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
This set is a Weakness Policy Special Sweeper that takes advantage of the bulk boost from Dynamax to absorb a super effective move and go for the sweep. Hydro Pump and Hurricane both benefit from the Rain setup of Max Geyser, making Salamence a terrifying threat even outside of Dynamax. Hydro Pump also hits many targets that otherwise trouble Physical Salamence sets like Landorus-Therian, Incineroar and just obliterates Coalossal. Draco Meteor has insane stopping power and can be fired off twice in a row if you manage to nab the Weakness Policy boost. Intimidate is a fantastic ability that makes Salamence and its partner more bulky and thus more likely to survive a super effective hit.
This set is meant to Dynamax right away and eat a super effective hit to activate Weakness Policy. Max Airstream fixes Hurricane’s accuracy problems and allows Salamence to boost its Speed to levels that would allow it to outspeed the likes of non Scarf Dragapult after a single boost. Hydro Pump sets up rain for Salamence and its teammates, allowing them to wreak havoc and fixes Hurricane’s Accuracy issues outside of Dynamax. Max Wyrmwind is not likely to be used, but the Attack Dropping benefit and massive power without drawbacks cannot be understated.
EVs and Items
Standard Special sweeper array. Maximize Speed and Special Attack to get the jump on as many Pokémon as possible and move as fast as possible. Weakness Policy is the crux of the set and the only viable way for it to boost its own Special Attack.
Other rain abusers like Barraskewda, and Ludicolo enjoy the rain that Salamence sets up as well as the anti Grass support and in turn resist Ice moves, making Icy Wind and Blizzard less attractive options. Screen setters like Regieleki and Grimmsnarl enable Salamence to survive stronger Super Effective hits to get the Weakness Policy boost. Regieleki in turn enjoys the drawbackless Thunders it can spam under Salamence’s rain, and Grimmsnarl is a deterrent for opposing Dragon types. Clefairy, Clefable, Comfey and Tapu Lele can all redirect Dragon attacks from Salamence to them, in addition to their providing general support. Tapu Lele also Protects against Priority, making Salamence ever more difficult to deal with after setting up.
Due to its coverage options and great offensive stats, it's difficult to counter Salamence, specially once it starts gaining boosts with Dynamax. Bulky walls like Porygon2, Suicune and Cresselia can take a hit, cripple it with paralysis or hit it very hard with Ice Beam. These Pokemon must be careful as otherwise a boosted Salamence on Dynamax can become extremely difficult to take down. For this reason, Hippowdon becomes an amazing response as it will certainly avoid the 2HKO from any of its attacks and it can easily phaze it away ruining any chance of a sweep.
Steel types that are immune to Earthquake like Celesteela and Skarmory can do a decent job on checking, however, Salamence usually carries Fire coverage which makes them a shaky response if they switch into the wrong move.
Countering Salamence is extremely difficult, however, checking it is quite easy. Without a Max Airstream boost, faster Dragon types like Dragapult, Garchomp and Latios can easily check Salamence and OHKO it with their STAB moves. Mamoswine deserves a special mention as it can check Salamence with Ice Shard and bypass any Speed boosts it gained afterwards. Once Dynamax ends, Ice Shard will easily OHKO it.
Locations in Games
Not in game
Not in game
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
Snagged from Cipher Admin Eldes in Citadark Isle (XD)
Evolve Shelgon (Pearl, Platinum)
Trade from Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver (Diamond)
Evolve Shelgon (White)
Trade from White/Black 2/White 2 (Black)
Black 2/White 2:
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Not in game
Tunnel to the Top, Path to the Peak (Sword)
Max Raid Battles: Giant's Bed, Path to the Peak, Frigid Sea, Three-Point Pass, Ballimere Lake (Sword)
Trade from/Raid with Sword (Shield)