Japanese Name: オノノクス (Ononokusu)
Classification: Axe Jaw Pokémon
Weight: 232.6 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 76 / Atk 147 / Def 90 / SpAtk 60 / SpDef 70 / Spd 97
Haxorus is a monster, no two ways about it. It is a Pokemon bred to do one thing and one thing alone, and that is to intensely mess up the opponent as badly as possible before it goes down. Haxorus has a monstrous base 147 Attack stat, one of the highest in the entire game. With it, even relatively low base power attacks become incredibly lethal. 76/90/70 defensive stats ensure that Haxorus will not be taking too many hits in turn, though. Haxorus, despite being the first final-evolution pure Dragon type, still carries all the weaknesses that come with being a Dragon Pokemon, and its defenses cause even attacks it resists to do tremendous damage. Haxorus’ base Speed is also a bit of a problem. Like Hydreigon, Haxorus sits at an odd base Speed, in his case 97, rather than Hydreigon’s 98. To that end, Haxorus is often outsped by a number of common counters, so having an item to aid its survivability or Dragon Dance for a boost to Speed helps immensely.
Attack is the only stat you should be concerned with when designing a Haxorus’ offensive capability. His Special Attack is on par with Gyarados’, and is gimmicky at best. Besides, base 147 Attack is far too good to pass up. With moves like Outrage, Dragon Claw, Earthquake, X-Scissor , Brick Break and Shadow Claw in its arsenal, Haxorus can hit almost every Pokemon for at least neutral damage. Haxorus’ primary attack option is either Outrage or Dragon Claw, depending on how you plan on using it. Outrage hits incredibly hard and bypasses many abilities opponents throw at you, including Dragonite’s Multiscale, but carries the risk of lock-in to the move and self-inflicted Confusion afterwards. Dragon Claw hits fairly hard, but carries the risk of turning a OHKO with Outrage into a 2HKO or 3HKO with Dragon Claw, making it a slightly riskier option, but with safer switch-out potential. Earthquake is another given, being able to hit a wide variety of Steel types for supereffective damage. Brick Break can be useful for dismantling the two Screen attacks (Light Screen and Reflect), X-Scissor helps take down tough Psychic, Dark and Grass opponents, and Shadow Claw hits Psychic and Ghost types for greater damage with an increased chance for a critical hit, though, these three attacks usually get downgraded in favor of a support move.
Speaking of support moves, Haxorus does get the obligatory Dragon Dance, which can be your greatest friend. Haxorus’ base 97 Speed lets it get outrun by a number of other Dragons and other Pokemon types, so having a way to prevent revenge killing as much as possible can help substantially. Gaining the +1 stage to Attack can also help boost up the power of Dragon Claw, should you opt for it rather than Outrage, turning the previously stated 2HKOs or 3HKOs into OHKOs. Taunt is also an excellent option, preventing setup Pokemon from doing their thing and shutting down bulky walls that depend on moves like Recover to work. Beyond those two important moves, Haxorus can learn other debuffs like the ever-present Toxic and Swagger, but they’re typically lesser options. Haxorus was made to break people, and Toxic opens him up to a counterattack, while Swagger can dangerously empower the enemy. One must beware priority attacks, though – Haxorus has no access to damaging priority attacks, and can be revenge killed by a stray Fake Out or Vacuum Wave.
Haxorus’ only true ability to consider is Mold Breaker. Mold Breaker is just too good to pass up for either of its other abilities, Rivalry and Unnerve. Rivalry is a very unpredictable ability to use, despite the odds that one would most likely fight male Pokemon more often than female, and can backfire rather tremendously. Considering that most Pokemon in the game have a 50/50 gender split, there is just as equal a chance that Haxorus will lose 25% of its power to an opponent of the opposite gender as there is one would get the 25% boost from an opponent of the same gender. Unnerve also pales in comparison to the amazing offensive coverage Mold Breaker offers. Preventing berry usage might help you out once or twice, but if you really want to stop berries, using Aerodactyl or any other Pokemon with Unnerve as a plausible ability is a better choice.
Haxorus is definitely the haxor Pokemon of 5th Gen. Access to terrifying offensive power and an ability geared towards busting even the most sturdy of Multiscale Dragonites and Levitate users, as well as Dragon Dance and Taunt, make it a psychotically strong presence and a force to feel intimidated by. Weak Speed might hinder it, but despite the setback, Haxorus can pursue its prey with reckless abandon and connect with powerful blows, provided it can survive a potential counterattack.