Rapid Spinner – Physical Wall
- Item Held
- Impish (+Defense, -Special Attack)
- Effort Points
- 252 HP – 252 Defense – 6 Attack
- Rapid Spin
- Stealth Rock / Knock Off
- Ice Shard / Stone Edge
Although Hippowdon is far better as a Wall since it has Sand Stream to wear down its opponents and Slack Off to recover, Donphan is still famous for one main reason. And that’s Rapid Spin. In the current metagame, every team has a Spiker and Donphan is one of the best choices to Rapid Spin away those annoying pointy rocks or Spikes. Other than that, a STABed Earthquake coming off a base Attack stat of 120 isn’t weak at all. Donphan can also set Stealth Rock itself, but if you already have a Spiker in your team, Knock Off is a nice move for sending away your opponents’ items. In the last slot, there are two possible options. Ice Shard makes Donphan move first and covers Salamence and Garchomp but its low base power is a problem. On the other side, Stone Edge has more base power and hits Gyarados but it has less PP and it doesn’t strike first like Ice Shard does.
Choice Band Sweeper
- Item Held
- Choice Band
- Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)
- Effort Points
- 252 Attack – 172 HP – 86 Speed
- Ice Shard
- Stone Edge
- Fire Fang
It may not have the Speed of other Choice Banders like Aerodactyl or even Heracross, but it has the Physical durability of all of them together. Perfect set for surprising those Ghost-types that come in just to block your Rapid Spin. Dusknoir is met with a powerful Earthquake and Gengar gets OHKOed by Stone Edge. Just be sure to know what Ghost is going to pop. Choice Banded Ice Shard is also great for hitting those notorious Dragon-types. Fire Fang hits Skarmory and Bronzong.
The EPs suggested let Donphan outrun any Swampert with no Speed EPs. Adamant nature is essential in this set. If you don’t care about outrunning Swampert, just go 252 Attack – 252 HP – 6 Defense.
Other Possible Options
Roar is a nice option for the defensive Donphan and works great if Stealth Rock is down. Thunder Fang, Poison Jab and Body Slam are other alternative Physical moves. Assurance can work with Stealth Rock and hit Dusknoir for a lot of damage. Other that those, Rock Polish and Counter may prove useful at times but their use is situational at best.
Bulky Grass and Water-types are the best counters to Donphan. Suicune, Milotic, Swampert and Vaporeon can all come in and KO with Surf although they don’t take Choice Band boosted Earthquakes with ease. Grass-types, like Tangrowth, resist Earthquake and don’t take much damage by Ice Shard. Ludicolo, being both Water and Grass-type, is a nice counter too.
Levitate using Pokémon are quite good at countering Donphan. Cresselia can take a hit or two and knock Donphan out with Grass Knot or Ice Beam. Same applies for Bronzong which only fears Choice Band boosted Fire Fang. Azelf can switch in on an Earthquake and hit back with Grass Knot and so can Mesprit and Uxie if they carry Grass Knot.
While Skarmory laughs at Donphan’s attacks, it can’t do anything back apart from Whirlwinding Donphan away. Any Pokémon with a high Special Attack stat can KO Donphan but most of them have trouble switching in. Choice Band boosted Earthquake may knock out most of them as Special Sweepers rarely have a high Defense.
Opinion & Notes
Donphan got a new rival in this generation and its name is Hippowdon. While both of them are quite sturdy, Hippowdon seems to win the match-up with Slack Off, making it a better Wall. However, Donphan’s access to Rapid Spin still keeps it popular in the OverUsed tier. Ice Shard, Stone Edge and Stealth Rock are all nice moves that Donphan acquired after the generation jump, letting it to hit more threatening Pokémon like Salamence and Gyarados. While Donphan is still excellent at Rapid Spinning, the lack of a reliable move for recovering really limits its defensive capabilities.
Note that Ice Shard is an egg move.