Japanese Name: カイリュー (Kairyu)
Classification: Dragon Pokémon
Weight: 463.0 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 91 / Atk 134 / Def 95 / SpAtk 100 / SpDef 100 / Spd 80
Dragonite is one of the most woefully misunderstood of all the Dragons, mostly because of the imagined competition it is in with his cousin, Salamence. Ever since Salamence was introduced in 3rd Gen, Salamence has been seen as the superior Dragon because of its intense sweeping prowess and fantastic attack power; coupled with Rayquaza, they dominated the 4th Gen metagame with nigh-unstoppable might, with Dragonite being left behind or, worse yet, being built to fill Salamence’s role. Now, though, the 5th Gen Dreamworld mechanic has finally allowed Dragonite to shine once again in his intended role: the bulky Dragon. Dragonite has fantastically impressive bulk, access to a Dreamworld ability that only serves to reinforce his defensive stats, and the attack stats to back up his amazing movepool, all beneficial points that Salamence cannot adequately claim.
Dragonite’s bulk is the stuff of legends, really. A base 91 HP, base 95 Def and base 100 SpDef combine to make destroying the original Dragon Pokemon an incredibly difficult task. Even with neutral natures in either defense stat and little investment in EV training, Dragonite’s defenses both break 200, and his HP can reach 386, which makes killing even an Inner Focus Dragonite a challenge without a strong Ice or Dragon attack. With his Dreamworld ability, Dragonite can easilly survive an unboosted, non-STAB Ice Beam, something he could not do in the older generations without a Focus Sash.
His Dreamworld ability, Multiscale, is really the pinnacle of defensive abilities. With it, as long as Dragonite is at full HP, any and all damage he takes from an attack is reduced by 50%. Coupled with strong investment in HP and the move Roost, which Dragonite learns in exchange for a Heart Scale from the move tutor in Mistralton City, Dragonite can heal up and recover his max HP from nearly any attack, making him additionally difficult to defeat, and opening up your opponent’s strategy to get in some Dragon Dances for a sweep. Be wary of the enttry hazard Stealth Rock, though – it removes 1/4 of Dragonite’s HP right off the bat and negates the usefulness of Multiscale, and due to its HP-reducing nature, the Life Orb is a much less attractive option for a held item on the great Dragon. His normal ability, Inner Focus, makes him an excellent anti-lead Pokemon. By eliminating the flinching power of Purugly, Ambipom, Mienshao or Persian, and/or carting Extremespeed with you, you gain the ability to negate some of the most rage-inducing lead/scout Pokemon in the metagame. An additional note is that Inner Focus Dragonites can legally carry the 4th Gen move Superpower, which is devastating for common anti-Dragon Steel types such as Heatran.
Dragonite’s superior offensive stat is most definitely his Attack stat, which can hit up to 403 with a positive nature and ideal IVs/EVs. While he lost some impressive physical attacks in the transition from 4th to 5th, such as Superpower, Focus Punch and Ice Punch, he has kept the thing that his cousin Salamence lost: Outrage. Coupling that with his other attacks such as Earthquake, Fire Punch, Stone Edge, Aqua Tail, Waterfall and Dragon Claw, he can be an absolutely fearsome physical powerhouse. Dragon Dance also helps solve Dragonite’s base 80 Speed problem, boosting the Dragon’s Speed and Attack easily, considering the nigh-invulnerability to OHKOs he has with Multiscale. With a single Dragon Dance, Dragonite can hit upwards of 604 Attack and 388 Speed, Adamant nature assumed, which gives you a guarentee that you will outpace any Pokemon that are base 125 Speed unboosted and below, which carves out a huge amount of the metagame that would otherwise outrun Dragonite and give it grief.
Dragonite’s Special Attack is an entirely plausible stat as well, however. Many Dragonites run a Mixed set, working in moves like Draco Meteor and Flamethrower, simply because it works well and with the move Extremespeed, you have a wonderful base 80 Priority move that helps with outspeeding fragile sweepers. Dragonite can also run a devastating Special set, particularly in the rain. Thunder and Hurricane are both 100% accurate during heavy rain, and Dragonite gets STAB from Hurricane, both of which carry a 30% chance for inflicting Paralysis and Confusion, respectively. Dragonite also has access to a wide variety of brilliant special attacks, like the two elemental trinities of Bolt/Beam/Thrower and Thunder/Blizzard/Fire Blast, Focus Blast, Surf, Dragon Pulse and the ultimate Dragon move Draco Meteor.
Another brilliant set of moves I feel the need to mention is the 5th Gen addition of Dragon Tail and the ever-efficient Thunder Wave. Dragonite’s Thunder Wave can debilitate foes in a way that Toxic surely cannot, and Dragon Tail, despite being a -6 Priority move, forces out an opponent upon contact. By combining the two, you can spread paralysis amongst an opponent’s team and, combined with entry hazards, can spin a dark tale for an ill-prepared team.
In short, while Salamence might be the overall superior sweeping power, Dragonite has set itself apart from its cousin by cementing itself a role as a bulky Dragon with infinite playability. The combination of effective moves and devastating power with its fantastic bulk makes it a very good all-around Pokemon that reminds everyone to never underestimate it. I have three different Dragonite myself, and I fully intend to make more, just because there is no one magic skill set to give to him, nor is there ever a situation on a team you could not breed one up for. He is definitely going to make the OU metagame more hectic and challenge the prediction skills of all players and, as Lance once so famously boasted, show that the original Dragon is truly a force to be reckoned with.