Japanese Name: ボーマンダ (Boomanda)
Classification: Dragon Pokémon
Weight: 226.2 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 95 / Atk 135 / Def 80 / SpAtk 110 / SpDef 80 / Spd 100
While the third to be given the honorific of “the Dragon Pokemon“, Salamence has the highest Attack power of the non-Legendary Dragons and ties for the second-highest Speed of his kind. With just as equally formidable a Special Attack stat, Salamence is widely regarded to be the go-to Pokemon when one needs sheer speed, power and type coverage, which only get stronger after a Dragon Dance. His fall from the Uber tier has given Salamence a wider playground to rampage through, and while he hasn’t changed all that much in his transition from 4th to 5th, he has changed in some significant ways. The first major flag one will see is that Salamence no longer learns Outrage, a staple move of his from 4th Gen, even through breeding. This limits the sheer overwhelming power the Dragon can put forth, but it makes him no less of a threat. Another major change is the Dreamworld mechanic giving him the Hidden Ability Moxie, which permits a Salamence to build its Attack stat without the need for Dragon Dance, but leaves him open to slightly stronger physical attacks (without the Attack drop from Intimidate) and opponents preying on his unboosted Speed. Lastly, Salamence lost the coveted Roost, leaving him without his usual way to recover off damage and remove his 2x weakness to Rock and halve his 4x weakness to Ice for a turn. Still, despite these changes, Salamence is no less the overshadowing threat he was when he first arrived in 3rd Gen.
As stated above, Salamence has the strongest Attack stat of any of the non-Legendary Dragons, one point higher than that of Dragonite and five points higher than Garchomp. Salamence also has a fantastic Special Attack of 110, making him an ideal candidate for a Mixed set. While his base 100 Speed lets him outrun a host of threats, it also limits how quickly he can move without Dragon Dance to give him a step up; while he can easilly outrun unboosted base 95 or lower, he speed ties with all base 100’s and gets outrun by a number of other Pokemon, notably Garchomp, Gengar and Starmie. Salamence generally favors coverage, so using a Choice Scarf on one isn’t recommended, especially when one considers how much damage he can take from Stealth Rock. Speaking of damage, with a base 95 in HP and base 80 in both defenses, Salamence isn’t too terribly bad off, and is generally a sweeper with above-average staying time, but has the abysmal 4x weakness to Ice that many Dragons share, and with his speed, he should rapidly set up if need be and start a sweep as quickly as possible.
Salamence’s offensive moveset is arguably his greatest selling point. With his 135 Attack and possessing Dragon Claw, Dragon Rush, Earthquake, Stone Edge, Crunch, Zen Headbutt, Shadow Claw, Brick Break and Fire Fang, Salamence has a wide variety of attack options to work with and can cover a lot of bases while outputting massive harm to opponents. Of slightly lesser note is Salamence’s Special Attack pool, having Fire Blast and Flamethrower, Draco Meteor and Dragon Pulse, and the Egg Move Hydro Pump. With a Mixed set, one can transform Salamence into a pain cannon of both attack groups, covering several different types and responding to a number of threats to your team at large. Salamence’s support pool is less than stellar: Dragon Dance is his only truly effective boosting move, while the other, Hone Claws, only ups Attack and accuracy, which is less important than Speed for him. There are some status moves, such as Swagger, Toxic, Protect and Rest, but none of them really sync well with his general role as a heavy-hitting sweeper, and Rest is a poor substitute for Roost, a skill Salamence lost in the transition from 4th to 5th.
Salamence’s regular ability is Intimidate, which lowers the Attack stat of the opponent by 1 stage upon entering battle. Intimidate is quite good for softening up opposing sweepers who do not carry Clear Body or White Smoke, or a team using Mist. Using Intimidate grants Salamence a free boost in Defense when he switches in (as Attack goes down), but this is laughed off by Special sweepers and does not affect Pokemon that switch in after Salamence takes the field. Still, Intimidate does have the benefit of forcing an opponent to think twice and switch, holding off danger for another turn. Salamence’s new Hidden Ability, Moxie, is also an incredible boon to him, allowing him to chain multiple Attack boosts with every defeated opponent. The only danger exists in the fact that without a drop in Attack from Intimidate, Salamence opens himself up to stronger physical attacks, threatening his survivability. Either way, Salamence’s abilities suit him well, and only serve to enhance his offensive nature.
The powerhouse of 3rd Gen definitely lives up to that expectation, delivering high levels of damage and excellent type coverage for any player who possesses one. As a sweeper and general annoyance-remover, you will be hard-pressed to find one that covers more bases than Salamence. With excellent skill sets, great abilities and fantastic offensive stats, Salamence is a Pokemon you can definitely rely upon.