Suspect SV AAA Suspect #4: Dragonite

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Following a unanimous vote by the AAA council, Dragonite is now subject to a suspect test ! Thanks to Aerilate, access to Extreme Speed and 134 base atk, Dragonite gains in AAA an extremely strong priority move; moreover a flying type move, one of the best offensive types in the game. This makes Dragonite one of the most reliable forms of speed control in the tier, outspeeding basically everything, while still being able to act as a breaker.

But Dragonite is far from being a one-trick pony, its high stats and diverse movepool offering many possibilities, and making it unpredictable. Whether it's Earthquake, Thunder Punch, Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, Fire Punch, Low Kick or even rarer options like Ice Spinner, Body Slam or Wrap + Encore, Dragonite can virtually get rid of any check, even the most persistent ones like Corviknight and Dondozo. The options are even more variable as Dragonite can take advantage of Heavy-Duty Boots as well as Life Orb or, occasionally, Leftovers or a Choice Band.

It is especially Dragonite's bulk, coupled with its access to Roost and Dragon Dance, that makes the Pokémon difficult to manage, forcing, for example, Corviknight to use Iron Defense or Bulk Up, and forbidding any passive play (except possibly with Unaware).

In general, Dragonite is particularly problematic for more offensive teams to handle. Having more fragile Pokémon, they tend to lose momentum very easily against Dragonite since the latter outspeeds and threatens to OHKO most offensive Pokémon.

However, despite having access to so many options, Dragonite usually has to have exactly the right set against the right team to win on matchup, which rarely happens. Against more defensive teams, it can even be completely useless, as it offers no long-term utility (Extreme Speed only having 8pp). Dazzling also allows any Pokémon to be immune to Dragonite's Extreme Speed, offering a somewhat reliable option against it.

How (Suspect Details):
During a Suspect test, each player must climb the ladder until they've acquired the GXE necessary to participate in the voting. Primarily, everyone that participates needs to make an alt account following these guidelines:

  • Every game must be played on the official Pokemon Showdown! site and on a new account (creation date no earlier than today, March 22nd) with "DRAAAG [Nick]"--for example, I could create one called "DRAAAG Atha" to ladder with. Having the prefix at the beginning of your alt name is mandatory, AKA not in the middle (e.g. The DRAAAG Man) and not at the end (e.g. The DRAAAG).​
  • To qualify for voting, your alt must meet the required GXE and games played threshold; it starts at 80% GXE at 25 games, down to 76% GXE at 45+ games.
  • Dragonite will be allowed on the ladder during the suspect.​
  • The suspect test will go for two weeks and end on Wednesday, April 5th at 10:00 AM GMT -4.
  • When posting proof of meeting reqs, feel free to use this thread as a means to disseminate topical opinions regarding whether or not Dragonite should be banned (Optional)
  • It is mandatory to provide proof of ownership of the alt account as well. (Post a picture of your reqs with your smogon name featured)​
With that all of that being said, it's suspect time! As usual, the actual voting will take place in the Blind Voting Forum, so posting anything other than proof of reqs and discussion isn't necessary.

Tagging Kris for implementation
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leaning dnb, might vote B just to reduce strain. That life orb tbolt set scary though.
Team i used :corviknight: :talonflame: :garchomp: :iron treads: :iron moth: :sylveon:
I really like this team which is rare for me to say. It feels very consistent getting me to 1800 on my main and doing this suspect run with it. Incredibly strong gameplan and multiple wincons here
:corviknight: :talonflame: :garchomp: :iron treads: :iron moth: :sylveon:
Like i said above, this team feels very consistent. However it still has some problem matchups like Talonflame and Cb/Life Orb chienpao being a big threat to it. You can potentially replace the sylveon with a scream tail or something else to help vs those more. However i want the pure fairy typing for hydreigon.

The team is built around flame body :corviknight:, and is built to capatilize greatly off of it and support its downfalls in not having a more reliable defensive ability. Its fast iron defense body press, to have a surefire answer to Well Baked Body :kingambit:, otherwise you would lose if it sets up a swords dance and has a +2 defense boost. Once you do get the flame body burn though, kingambit loses all its recovery and is greatly pressured by bulk up :talonflame: the next time its in.

Thats where :sylveon: comes in, an unaware fairy type really helps clean up those that corv cant beat, and is also threathening to sweep with corv's flame body support. It can bait in iron heads and such, and let them get burned by corviknight making the steel types lose in the long term. Especially on the ladder, having an unaware mon like this helps immensely and having the cm wincon in your back pocket is nice. It used to be an orange :florges: but i changed it to sylveon due to slightly better physical bulk.

:talonflame: is next in that it helps spread burns, and is a good fighting/fire/etc resist for corviknight and sylveon, rounding out the physdef core. Its also just a behemoth of a pokemon and WINS SO MUCH. How is this thing in A-??? Its broken. Its so ignorant when it wins. Also helps switch into stuff like corrosion toxic, lots of miscellaneous things.

:iron moth: Is here because it checks a million things at once, namely :quaquaval: because that mon is a huge huge threat in general, and its nice having a strong answer to it. Also spreads para's for sylveon to win pp/stall war endgames.

:garchomp: is here as a strong and reliable wincon. It sits down, clicks sd a bunch of times, and eventually wins once everything is burnt and can no longer scare it out. It greatly appreciates your flame body :Corviknight: burning their :Corviknight: on a u-turn or something, as then Garchomp can easily sd past Corviknights.

:iron treads: Last member here is probably the worst but required to answer to the 2 broken ghosts :Zoroark-Hisui: and :Gengar:. Except it can still sometimes lose to Zoroark because these are stupid broken mons with 0 actual counters. *fun fact my one loss in the suspect run was to a Zoroark ohkoing my treads and subsequently the rest of my team, fun times. Other than that it does a pretty good job at helping checking the fairy types in the tier and controlling the hazard game. Spreading knocks for leftovers is greately appreciated too, as the team aims to wear down and chip everything with burn. This also introduces a fun lose/lose scenario for opposing :corviknight:'s where if they are brave bird they are annoyed at the treads MU but if they are body press they are more annoyed vs :sylveon: and :talonflame:


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Will be voting DNB, all the king's Dragonites and all the kings coverage couldn't make Dragonite consistent again. Putting the other abilities aside since this suspect will inevitably revolve around whether or not people believe Aerilate Dragonite is broken or not, it's true that a given Dragonite with the right coverage can defeat just about whatever it wants--but realistically, how often is that actually going to matter? How consistently is Thunderbolt Dragonite really going to snag a win in, or randomly running Encore, or deciding to use Low Kick?

Gholdengo was a Pokemon that actually consistently picked its counterplay because even on the off chance that your immunity ability (or Magic Guard) doesn't have a super good matchup, you're still using a Pokemon with a 120 BP STAB, an extremely good typing, and very good stats. What's a Dragonite going to do against an offense that has anti priority and/or Fluffy, or a balance team with Unaware and/or a Bulk Up/IronPress Corviknight--especially if the Corviknight is immune to your coverage move(s)? I half wish this suspect test started after April just so I can check out Dragonite's winrate/sets on the ladder, but I'll be back in a week and a half after doing that, I suppose.

In essence, for every theoretical Dragonite set that apparently just beats everything, there's common counterplay that can handle it. I don't want to write too long of a post, but it's not exactly crazy to use Pokemon like Corviknight, Scream Tail, Dondozo, Garganacl, etc. to improve matchup against Dragonite. Offensively, Queenly Majesty Chien-Pao, Triage Hatterene, Kingambit, and even more recently relevant stuff like Fluffy Garchomp isn't what I'd call unviable. I feel like the scariest Dragonite (which has somehow equipped the perfect coverage move(s) for your team in teambuilder) is one you'll almost never see, because at the end of the day an actual Dragonite can only use 4 moves.

:Slither Wing::Scream Tail::Dondozo::Corviknight::Blissey::Clodsire: is the team I used (built it w/ Quantum Tesseract)
Stemmed from trying to find a Knock Absorber that enables the rest of the team to abuse Leftovers recovery; Slither Wing happens to be perfect at that. Iron Moth is broken, so there's an opportunist Blissey too.
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Tea Guzzler

serial waffler
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used actual teams i stole from thread last night, didn't get anywhere so used screens and it became significantly easier

ban af. i understand that it can't have all coverage at all times, however the sheer variety of coverage it can have means that you can get your "checks" just randomly invalidated and having to run multiple checks to one offensive mon is sort of indicative of a problem in my mind. unaware scream tail is probably the single hardest check but not everybody builds fat and can/wants to use it. sort of similar to BH drum but more problematic - with drum, you either get a 6-0 matchup or do nothing, whereas with dnite you either 6-0 or still have one of the best anti-offense tools in the game that can also sweep late-game with dd. a lot of the anti-priority measures are also of questionable value and only really work if the dnite user can't be bothered to scout. if you play exclusively fat then you do not have an issue with dnite so stop trying to tell everyone it isn't broken when you don't play the style it brutalizes

:rotom-wash::polteageist::iron moth::quaquaval::dragonite::roaring moon:
rotom has screens but i didn't find myself setting them every game. quaquaval completely bullies garg and ting-lu so you can just farm SDs to smash corv and garg for dnite, and it has enough speed to outrun pao at +1. most corvs lose to LO tbolt so garg becomes the main obstacle to remove. moth is broken and normally gets 2+ kills / baits and destroys rmoon / unironically beats most blissey / smashes garg so just bring it in with pivots and click buttons. teapot cleans late-game but needs darks like gambit and regen moon gone first. against pao and dnite, rotom -> screens -> quaq or dnite usually works. unaware stail / sylv basically 6-0 if moth is down (if moth is up you can spam fiery dance alongside them and usually you win or leave them low), LO meowscarada is also a problem if you aren't already in as dnite
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Ghost-types are mean :(

Anyway, moving onto the main topic, Dragonite. I'm kinda split 50/50. I never have any trouble with Dragonite personally, but that's just because I build my teams with Dragonite very thoroughly in mind and sometimes resort to things like Dazzling Greninja lol and its coverage is still super varied and can exerts quite the pressure when building (depending on how much you cope). Not much else to say, so I'll just keep an eye on discussion and see what other cases are made for ban/no ban.


Why use different teams when you can use basically the same teams? Pretty clean run, both losses were to a rather unspectacular balance team by some random which somehow resulted in both the exact same situation when I lost with my Chien-Pao/Gengar unable to play around Hatterene and Scarf Sandy Shocks with the remaining mons. Also shoutout to DeepFriedMagikarp for making this the first time I've had to use multiple accounts as the first two got ruined by that dumb Unaware Sylveon team which made me specifically put CB Chien-Pao on. Fluffy RMoon is an amazing mon to cheese people with btw. A good chunk of my wins came from trapping and getting to +6 on whatever (granted, it's low ladder), even if you can't sweep, you can still pick off a mon and it even manages to PP Stall things like Umbreon and Chilling Water Pex with Taunt spam which is funny.
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I prob won't finish the suspect because i'm lazy but i want to say some things on Dragonite

Dragonite is not healthy.
I did couple of games on the ladder and in every game, there was a corviknight, and most of the time it was well-baked body, and let's be honest, if Dragonite wasnt in the tier we wouldnt see as much immunity fire corviknight as rn (skeledirge still win vs corvi, iron moth has access to discharge, which is not a bad coverage, others fire are less strong)
Dragonite can still win vs Corviknight fire immunity anyway, see here a perfect example of dragonite doing dumb things vs a corvi immuned to fire

I do agree, Dragonite is not unstoppable, there are some counterplays, but they are either : 1/ niche (Dazzling) or 2/ very passive (Dondozo, Scream Tail) or 3/ harder to build around than it should be (Corviknight ID / BU; what i mean is that not being able to use the best defogger of the tier really sux just to handle 1 pokemon)

Also i dont really understand what some people mean with "Dragonite has to rely on its last move" like : ESpeed DD Roost FPunch/EQ wins vs A LOT of things, TBolt is a fair option if you're scared about Corviknight setup since Corviknight is looking to be extremely solid rn

I wanna talk a bit more about counterplays to Dragonite so here's a list of what i think about some answers to Dragonite:
:corviknight: as shown on the replay above, if you have no setup moves, it loses the 1v1, but some pivoting on Hatterene Triage or a Dazzling user is ok to deal with Dragonite (but pretty niche, especially for Dazzling users)

:scream tail: i dont think scream tail is bad but i don't think it is good either, idk it looks weird to me rn? i think it does a fine job defensively, but having wish as the only heal really sucks, and thats why i think it is too passive to be a good option to deal with Dragonite, because you can easily play around with the rest of your team to take advantage of it, so, imo it should be regenerator to not have to deal with this issue, but at the same time, regenerator loses the 1v1 vs dragonite
0 SpA Scream Tail Dazzling Gleam vs. 124 HP / 0 SpD Dragonite: 122-146 (34.4 - 41.2%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
+1 252+ Atk Aerilate Dragonite Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Scream Tail: 192-226 (44.2 - 52%) -- 74.2% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
unless you are playing ice beam but then it clearly just shows that it's unhealthy if you have to play ice beam on scream tail to deal with a dragon-type (or that scream tail isn't as good as we think to fulfill this role)

:dondozo: I feel like this mon either autowin or does nothing the whole game, and doesnt fit on any team as well, rest also makes it sooo easy to take advantage of it (similar to scream tail on this point)

Unaware users: makes your team either frail defensively or very very defensive, not ideal

Priorities Immunity: Soooooooo niche, Armarouge is the only that doesnt care about that because it will play Psychic Surge with or without Dragonite in the tier, but all the others just really want to have another ability

I also think there are a lot of threats in the tier (which is not healthy imo), and Dragonite is one of the best and the most restricting threats, so banning it would really be good for the tier imo

Hope no one will take this post as an offense or whatever, i feel like i've been really rude without wanting to be rude in my posts or during discussion in the past, sorry if that was the case, didn't mean it at all

Dunno if i'll finish the suspect but if i do, i'll def vote BAN


Perhaps perseverance is the answer after all.
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this ladder was fun persevering through, especially using all the teams i yoinked from this thread (s/o to everyone that made a team and posted it here btw, the unaware sylveon team and the fluffy roaring moon HO team carried me the most though)

RIP the Landia alt though, that would have been perfect for this prefix. At least another kirby boss from return to dreamland managed to get reqs so i'll take it


Screenshot 2023-03-24 10.37.13.png

lost games cuz I play in class and that's not a good idea (I suck), used this which is not particularly good but is fun enough, you're 6-0 by Tinted Gardevoir unless you're Uninteleon but oh well that's life

I already made a post here explaining why Dragonite was broken and needed to go and my view hasn't changed at all, I think many people are mistaken about the true issue with Dragonite and I mostly agree with Panda Doux's post, there are ways to beat Dragonite obviously but you're forced to run sets specifically for it and mostly only for it (Dazzling, IDef Corv..) (I know someone will tell me "oh but it also helps vs Hatterenne/Hariyama or SD Gambit of whatever but many times when building you realise that you're losing to Dragonite and only Dragonite so you add this set ; you would have other tools to beat the others, but you have to go with Dazzling/IDef most of the time to not autolose to Dragonite ; btw, many Dazzling mons are unable to beat more than 2 priority users if the other player is good (see: Dazzling Greninja cannot KO Hariyama) so the "utility" is all relative)

The issue is not about Dragonite being uncheckable or not ; it has checks, otherwise it would be already banned. It is about not having full reliable check unless you stack checks (see: my team has Gambit + EE Glimmora + Intim Corv + PSurge Armarouge and even with that a well played Dragonite (vs Ivar57) was able to actually threaten me which is crazy) so you may easily set to a "common" set and literally lose on the spot, and I can't accept that one of the three main sets of Dragonite (Low Kick / Fire Punch / Tbolt as a coverage move, ig we could add 3A Roost and 3A DD) can basically 6-0 any team that doesn't hard check it, especially since it's a free win this ESpeed prevents most of the revenge kill options you have (and running Dazzling on a mon is like, awful af).

It is also about, despite having checks (that can be weaken btw, it's so annoying to keep Scream Tail at full to not insta lose to Dragonite for example), being a momentum killer for many teams. If you're trying to build Offense, or even BO/Balanced team, it is super hard to keep the momentum vs it since it'll threaten 3 to 5 mons in your team and you're forced to use bad sets, random dazzling stuff, idef corv without U-Turn which sucks, etc, and it heavily constricts the teambuilding when building something else than fat with 3 checks. Every offense are using Dazzling Pao but that doesn't change the fact that Dragonite is free vs the 4-5 other mons, Siamato was using Counter Sash Cinderace to bait it like seriously, and regular teams are just forced to use the same cores again and again to not insta lose which makes the building tiring and restricting (esp. since, as mentionned, even then you can lose to Dragonite)

I personnaly never struggled vs Dragonite because my teams are build with it around, but you gotta make the difference what is not a problem vs you bc you're using specific set and what can be a problem vs everything else ; I'm running Unaware Scream Tail in 70% of my teams solely bc Dnite is a threat but whenevr I try to build something else it's a pain and I end up deleting the team bc.. I just don't want to run the same 3 answers or bad sets for a single mon, esp when it can still beat me if it's well played. Dragonite also needs so little to be able to sweep, like even if you have a check it's not that hard to wear it down it you play well, which may never happen on the ladder but happens when I do test games and then you just lose if the Dragonite plays well.

Anyway, Dragonite restricts way too much the building (which is the main issue), you're forced to run bad/suboptimal sets or structures (like the very fact that many corv drop U-Turn is like.. unhealthy af lol) to deal with it and even then, and I insist on the even then bc the major point to say Dragonite is healthy is that you can counter it, the answer is yes, but it comes after 2 major points that are the main issues AND are backed up by the fact that you can always lose to Dragonite anyway, so I don't really see what save it.
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Screenshot 2023-03-24 at 3.18.36 pm.png

confirming as draaagression (idk why I played a 26th game when I was 23 and 2)
team used
This is the first team since the most recent round of bans that I've felt comfortable with. It has a tough time with hydreigon and talonflame but other than that it's pretty solid. Hazard stack + desoland ceruledge is really oppressive when corv and quaq are two of the most common forms of hazard removal.

Not fully decided on dnite. I've gotten used to running iron defense corv and/or a priorimmune mon, and thus don't have too much trouble with it. It seems like I'm not alone in that sentiment judging by the posts above. However, the standard aerilate set is so strong that it forces people to devote resources to check it in the builder, which can open them up to getting cleaned up by a different set. I recently lost to a well-played SFLO special dnite. Early game, I could tell from how it was being played that it wasn't standard dragon dance espeed, but I didn't know exactly what else it was. SFLO isn't the only set I would have lost to in that situation. Beyond that, dnite seems to be most restrictive against offense, since priorimmune mons are pretty much the only way you can stop it from clicking espeed 6 times for the win.

On that note, I sort of disagree with priorimmune abilities being niche/suboptimal. Sure, one of their biggest benefits is checking dnite, but hat/gambit/hariyama/pao/slither are still threats that need to be handled somehow. It's extremely valuable to have a fast scarfer (e.g. meow, gren) that you KNOW is gonna be able to attack first. I also think iron defense corv has a lot of utility outside of checking dnite.

Looking forward to hearing what more people have to say on this.
I don't play much AAA as much anymore but i know quite a bit about Aerilate dragonite because I used him before and suffered when someone used it, and to be honest, he's a threat possibly being capable of destorying AAA meta game, because if you either using the wrong move that doesnt cripple his speed or attack, he's probably gonna get a couple of dragon dances and can possibly sweep even the most bulkiest pokemon in the AAA tier (probably something like fluffy, eviolite, chansey)

252+ Atk Choice Band Aerilate Dragonite Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Eviolite Fluffy Chansey on a critical hit: 262-309 (37.2 - 43.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

no dragon dance boosts or anything besides max atk evs, choice band, and crits and even if dragonite didn't get 3 critical hits then

252+ Atk Choice Band Aerilate Dragonite Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Eviolite Fluffy Chansey: 174-206 (24.7 - 29.2%) -- 100% chance to 4HKO

which is still quite a bit of damage to be dealt to and thats the bulkiest possible pokemon in AAA

Honestly imo I'm fine with dragonite but mostly just cause the things i run just so happen to also check most dnite variants unless i run into a mixed sflo dnite variant, which nobody runs thankfully.
My reqs team
Overall for me has done very good against most team archetypes that relies on me remembering that corv is volt absorb (Throughout all the games I have literally forgotten to switch corv in on sandy shocks every single time and let hydreigon or meowscarada take a nasty hit)
Talonflame being a wincon or such a mvp against most teams by either threatening with just unboosted stabs or u-turning into dreigon is just amazing


i'm not gonna sugarcoat it
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Finally got reqs, the real ladder experience were the random crits we got hit with along the way.
Probably swaying on ban right now as I feel it was a pretty menace to plan for, and essentially I feel that I had to keep the enemy Dragonite on a tight leash with specific things like Armor Tail, Flame Body just to name from the top of my head. Even in game, trying to predict the set on this thing was pretty tricky as suddenly it hurt more than I accounted for because of band in the game instead of Dragon Dance and vice versa on it setting up with DD. This is also not mentioning the random coverage this thing runs such as Thunderbolt/Flamethrower for Corviknight which got me boos and Low Kick for Garg. So yeah, I don't like preparing for this Pokemon as there are too many variables involved and it is extremely effective if you aren't sufficiently planned for it (lots of planning required for this one Pokemon)

Me when being told laddering would be less stressful if I just committed to one alt (shoutouts to Sectonia for being there for like 90% of the games spread out on alts)
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