Japanese Name: ニドキング (Nidoking)
Classification: Drill Pokémon
Weight: 136.7 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 100% – Female 0%
Base Stats: HP 81 / Atk 92 / Def 77 / SpAtk 85 / SpDef 75 / Spd 85
Abilities: Poison Point / Rivalry / Sheer Force (Hidden Ability)
Nidoking is quite possibly the easiest Pokemon in the entire game to use on a team, because he does so much to great effect. With an intense movepool sporting the likes of Ice Beam, Fire Blast, Earth Power, Earthquake, Megahorn, Sludge Bomb and B/W2 Move Tutor moves Superpower, Fire/Ice/Thunder Punch, Outrage and the highly-coveted Stealth Rock, Nidoking has absolutely no trouble at all bringing to the table what your team needs for offense or support. Nidoking only increased his already-infamous power in 5th Gen by gaining the Sheer Force Hidden Ability, arguably one of the best offensive abilities in the game, and making a Special Attack set just as viable for this monster as any Physical set. Nidoking’s power, though, is also his real drawback; while his offensive power is extremely well-balanced, his defenses are lacking, and his speed leaves him slower than many of his UU bretheren, to say nothing about OU, which makes him vulnerable to revenge killing or outright slaughter.
Nidoking’s stats leave him in a very strong position in the UU tier. Base 92 Attack and base 85 Special Attack leave little to be desired, especially when coupled with the Sheer Force ability, Life Orb, or both. His typing, Poison/Ground, affords him four weaknesses to Water, Ice, Ground and Psychic, but also leaves him with immunity to Electric and resistance to Fighting, Poison, Bug and Rock. Still, when it comes to defenses, Nidoking’s average stats tend to be his true weakness. A base HP of 81 isn’t bad, but base defenses of 77 and 75 are pretty low on average, which means Nidoking’s not going to be absorbing supereffective hits very well. The key thing to remember with Nidoking is to rely on his power to muscle down an opponent, rather than outlast him. Due to his base Speed of 85, Nidoking is often left vulnerable to setup-and-recover Pokemon who are faster than he is, and is left in extreme peril at the hands of faster, or bulkier, Psychic, Water or Ice types. To that end, being able to pick and choose the battles Nidoking enters is important.
When it comes to sheer variance of attacks, Nidoking is only truly matched by the likes of Mew. On the Physical side, Nidoking can bust out Earthquake, Megahorn, Sucker Punch, Beat Up, Head Smash, Rock Slide, Stone Edge and (via the B/W2 Move Tutor) Outrage, Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, Ice Punch, Superpower and Aqua Tail, giving him the ability to use attacks of 10 different types just on his Physical side. On his Special side, Nidoking can unleash Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Thunderbolt, Thunder, Surf, Earth Power, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Sludge Wave, Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, Focus Blast and (via B/W2 Move Tutor) Dragon Pulse, giving him nine different attack type options on his Special Attack roster. The usefulness of either side of his movepool is debatable: Nidoking has a higher Attack stat and can rip opponents apart with his B/W move roster alone, nothing considered from how much more coverage his Physical side gets from the Move Tutor, but Sheer Force has more utility with his Special attacks, considering that most of them have a secondary effect that syncs well with the ability.
Support moves are few on Nidoking, but certainly have their uses in special circumstances. Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes are able to be had on Nidoking, but are arguably better used by Nidoking’s wife Nidoqueen. Nidoking can learn Amnesia, helping cure its weakness to a host of attacks that are more often Special in nature, but he is a bit too slow and a bit too fragile to use it effectively, especially without a reliable means of HP recovery. Hone Claws is also another interesting support move, which permits the more accurate use of moves like Thunder, Blizzard and Fire Blast, but Nidoking often isn’t fleet-footed enough to utilize the extra Attack and Accuracy effectively, and builds centered around those higher-damage, lower-accuracy attacks have a bad habit of being dependant on Hone Claws with Nidoking.
Partners for Nidoking should play off of Nidoking’s shortcomings, which are a specialized set in and of itself. Since most bulky Psychic types are often countering Nidoking quite easily, having a faster, hard-hitting Pokemon with a Dark type attack, or a Dark type itself, would never go amiss. Rotom forms are also very dangerous to Nidoking, as they can levitate their way out of danger from Nidoking’s Ground-type attacks and several have resistances to some or all of Nidoking’s attacks, so having a partner that can blast a Rotom out of the air can also help out. Those two points having been made, Pokemon like Mismagius and Togekiss are great partners to Nidoking. They’re tough, they’re relatively fast, and they can both bring options Nidoking benefits from. Need a Pokemon taken down a peg in Speed? Togekiss can take a hit and paralyze the opposition, striking fear into an opponent’s heart. If Psychic types are a problem, Mismagius can enter the field. While not immune to Psychic attack, Mismagius is fast and hard-hitting, and has a great natural special defense, which can let her take a hit on a switch and reply back with Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt, or any other number of attacks.
When it comes to abilities, Sheer Force is really the best way to go. Poison Point depends on Nidoking taking physical contact damage, which most people won’t actually use on Nidoking when Psychic, Surf, Scald, Earthquake, Ice Beam and Earth Power can all do the job. Rivalry is slightly better, but is still a mixed blessing. Rivalry can increase the power of Nidoking’s attacks when presented with another male Pokemon to battle, which actually isn’t that uncommon, considering how many people run Pokemon with Egg Moves and like to keep male Pokemon around to continue passing the attacks along. But Rivalry can also backfire if your opponent is female, lowering Nidoking’s attack power, which is more likely to happen in the VG than on simulators. That aside, having Sheer Force to increase Nidoking’s attack power at the cost of an attack’s secondary effect is more than ample reason to take it, especially when you can guarentee yourself the attack boost anyway via careful move selection or the use of the Life Orb.