Japanese Name: ガブリアス (Gaburaisu)
Classification: Mach Pokémon
Weight: 209.4 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 108 / Atk 130 / Def 95 / SpAtk 80 / SpDef 85 / Spd 102
Just like his cousin Haxorus, Garchomp is a Pokemon that instills fear in its opponents due to its infamous attack power. However, Garchomp will never be as widely used in competitive play due to his ban to the Ubers tier, something he has suffered ever since 4th Gen and is agreed upon whether you abide by the Smogon or the Pokemon-Online tier system. Being the second-fastest of the Dragon-type Pokemon and having access to the ability Sand Veil, granting him a 30% evasion boost in the Sandstorm weather condition, is enough to make one’s stomach turn when facing one down, much less his respectable 108/95/85 defensive stats and 130 base Attack. Garchomp also has access to Swords Dance, made easier to use, or at least gamble with, in conjunction with Sand Veil. With a +2 bonus to Attack under his belt, a 30% evasion bonus, and access to moves like Outrage and Earthquake, Garchomp possesses the tools needed to cause terrible harm to opponents, OHKOing many outright.
The newest generation of Pokemon games, while changing up how the game is played significantly, pretty well left Garchomp unaltered. His movepool has generally remained the same, but Garchomp really doesn’t need much change to maintain his impressive offensive presence. Besides one of his most attractive attack options, Outrage, Garchomp can also fire off Earthquake, Dragon Claw and Fire Fang, giving him some decent type coverage for such a limited movepool. Garchomp also has access to Swords Dance, boosting his Attack up to heights that make it near-impossible to take a hit and survive. He also has access to moves like Stone Edge, Rock Slide and Crunch, but are generally less useful. Accuracy and lack of effective coverage stains the usefulness of both Rock-type moves, and while Crunch can hit Psychic types harder than Earthquake, even after the STAB, Outrage often does just as good a job anyway.
The combination of Garchomp’s offensive and defensive statistic potential and his ability make his ban to Ubers rather justified. Garchomp has defensive stats that permit him to theoretically survive a hit or two, provided that an opponent can land a hit with Sand Veil in play, and his radical Attack and above-average Speed make him difficult to survive an encounter with long enough to get a return shot back at him anyway, even without Sand Veil. Almost every Garchomp worth its salt runs a positive Speed nature while lowering his lackluster Special Attack, and gives Speed full EV training value. With his Speed topping out at 333 at level 100 as a result, he is able to outrun a number of common opponents, especially when equipped with a Choice Scarf. Because his Attack suffers a slight drop as a result of focus on Speed, it is almost always certain that one will encounter a Garchomp with Outrage and/or a Choice Band, to make up for the 35 point difference between neutral and positive Attack focus.
Garchomp does have some counters in the game, though, despite his incredible offensive power. Walls like Lugia can set up directly in Garchomp’s line of sight with Reflect and absorb hits all day long, particularly with Roost perking up the HP bar. Most types of weather change can also hinder Garchomp’s effectiveness by stealing away his Sand Veil and opening him up to base 105 and higher Speed opponents with Ice attacks or priority Ice. If Sand is difficult to keep a presence in for the match, one can always opt for a slightly different take on Garchomp with his Dreamworld ability, Rough Skin. While not as uniquely effective as +30% evasion, it does allow Garchomp to increase his overall damage dealing potential if Sandstorm is hard to keep up. It might also let you convince an opponent to use a Garchomp in non-Ubers play, though, don’t quote me on that.