Japanese Name: サザンドラ (Sazandora)
Classification: Brutal Pokémon
Weight: 352.7 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 92 / Atk 105 / Def 90 / SpAtk 125 / SpDef 90 / Spd 98
The Brutal Pokemon is indeed brutal. This unique specimen of Pokemon is Dark/Dragon, one of the very few Dragon types not quadruple-weak to Ice type attacks. Hydreigon and his unique typing are not the only reasons he made it to OU in 5th Gen, though. A healthy base 125 Special Attack keeps Hydreigon’s opponents on their toes, and his 92/90/90 defensive stats certainly don’t hurt it. What does hurt somewhat is its speed. Base 98 is a very, very odd number. It lets Hydreigon outrun Haxorus and Dragonite, but not Flygon, Garchomp or Salamence, leaving Hydreigon wide open to an Outrage or Dragon Claw counterattack. A mixed set is possible with a Hydreigon for surprise, with a still-respectable base 105 Attack, and access to a few notable physical attacks. All in all, Hydreigon is a Pokemon that is by no means a paper dragon, but at the same time suffers from flaws that do debilitate it significantly.
Hydreigon’s typing is arguably its most interesting feature. Dark/Dragon provides very unique coverage in the OU metagame, hitting Psychic and Ghost types with STAB Dark attacks and everything but Steel with Dragon for at least neutral damage. Dark/Dragon bestows the natural resistance to Grass, Water, Fire and Electric, and also provides Hydreigon with the unique claim that he is one of four fully-evolved non-Legendary Dragon types without a quadruple weakness to Ice (the others are Haxorus, Kingdra and Druddigon), as well as giving him immunity to Psychic-type attacks. However, his Dark typing does make him weak to the very common Bug and Fighting moves, which can be a severe hinderance, considering the number of scouting and priority attack moves that are of the Bug and Fighting types.
Along with Hydreigon’s weakness to Bug and Dark, Dragon and Ice attacks still strike it for supereffective damage as well. The Dragon attacks are of particular concern, because of Hydreigon’s base 98 Speed. Even with a Timid nature and a Choice Scarf, Hydreigon will not outrun a Dragon Danced Garchomp or Salamence, and can easilly be OHKOd by Outrage. Because of this, it is imperative to have a teammate who can counter threats Hydreigon cannot deal with on its own. Hydreigon is not a fan of status conditions of any kind, either, so having a way to deal with conditions is of importance as well, particularly paralysis.
On a more positive note, Hydreigon’s movepool is just short of Dragonite godliness. Dragon Pulse, Dark Pulse, Draco Meteor, Flamethrower, Surf, Outrage, Head Smash, Earthquake, Crunch and Focus Blast are just a few of its fine selling points, and with the offensive stats to back them up, Hydreigon makes a fantastic Special sweeper and an evil surprise Mixed sweeper. Utilizing a Choice Scarf, Hydreigon is a nasty revenge killer, and with a Life Orb becomes a devastating sweeper, provided it outspeeds its opponent. Hydreigon has no setup moves to speak of, barring Charge Beam, nor does it have a recovery move outside of Rest, meaning careful prediction and knowledge of when to turn tail and run to live to fight a later turn is of tantamount importance. Hydreigon’s only ability is Levitate, which gives it an immunity to Ground-type moves, which one can utilize in a pinch to foil pokey hard-hitting users of Earthquake, like Excadrill.
Hydreigon has its negative points, yes, but it still functions incredibly well. While its typing may cause it problems, along with its speed, judicious application of its strengths where they are needed give a team the competitive edge. The Brutal Pokemon definitely lives up to its namesake, and despite its shortcomings, should never be underestimated, as it always has some surprise up one of its proverbial sleeves.