VGC 2018 Pokemon Spotlight #8 – Landorus-Therian

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Welcome back to the VGC 2018 Pokemon Spotlight, where we look at a Pokemon that has seen success in the VGC 2018 format and take a look at it. Today, let's look at Landorus-Therian, a Pokemon that ever since it was released, it has dominated all facets of competitive Pokemon every time it gets a chance. Let's look at why this Pokemon is doing well in VGC 2018.

Base Stats & Typing

Looking at its base stats, Landorus-Therian has some really good stats. Its HP and defense stats paired with the Intimidate ability allows Landorus to stick around longer which can help it out. Probably its biggest selling point is that attack stat which means Landorus can deal massive damage and when dealing super effective damage, it can even threaten knockouts to even some bulky Pokemon. While Landorus is primarily a physical attacker, it can even be a pretty strong special attacker in the right situations. It speed stat is very awkward but Landorus can make use of it very efficiently with the help of speed control and other items.

The Ground/Flying is very interesting. Since Landorus is weak to both water and ice, both of which are mainly special moves, its Intimidate ability won't help as much in this regard. Its resistances to Fighting, Poison, and Bug won't help too much as these types aren't as common in the 2018 format apart from fighting and poison types and the only bug type move is mainly U-turn. This typing allows Landorus to reliably switch-in to multiple moves while still staying above 50% and if trained correctly, that's just enough health your Landorus will need to perform its job.

Notable Moves

Rock Tomb
Swords Dance
Earth Power
Rock Slide
Hidden Power [Ice]
Sludge Bomb
Stone Edge
Knock Off
Rock Polish

Landorus' moves play into how flexible of Pokemon it can be. It gets a lot of really strong physical moves in either Rock Tomb, Rock Slide, or Stone Edge for really strong rock type moves that all bring their own niches in either damage or speed control. Earthquake is the only move that you can expect a Landorus on a team without Tapu Bulu's grassy terrain to have because its a very powerful attack. Because of Z-moves, Fly can finally become a good move in competitive play which means Landorus finally can use a reliable flying type attack. 

Access to a lot of very strong coverage moves in Knock Off, U-turn, Superpower, and even Explosion can allow Landorus to attack Pokemon for super-effective damage that they otherwise wouldn't be able to. A special attacking variant can use moves like Earth Power, Sludge Bomb, and Hidden Power [Ice] can make for some very powerful special attacks if your Landorus is on a team with Tapu Bulu's grassy terrain. Landorus could even make use of moves like Swords Dance and Rock Polish which would end up making this Pokemon an even bigger threat.

Notable Items

Assault Vest
Choice Scarf
Choice Band
Focus Sash
Groundium Z
Flynium Z
Life Orb
Figy Berry

Such as Landorus can reliably use multiple moves, Landorus can function with multiple items. Assault Vest is currently the most popular item due to how the added bulk has largely helped out Landorus needs for its Sp. Defense stat. Choice Scarf and Choice Band can boost its speed and attack stat respectively to help Landorus increase its stat to aid in Landorus to either allow it to out-speed and KO a threat it otherwise couldn't or increase the power of its attacks to pick up surprising KOs. 

Groundium Z can turn powerful Ground-type moves into a very strong attack to possible nuke a threat or even KO a Pokemon through Protect. Flynium Z finally gives Landorus a viable flying type move which it never had the opportunity to. Life Orb gives it to increase power for its attacks although it takes a small amount of recoil damage. Focus Sash can give Landorus to survive a hit it otherwise couldn't and Figy Berry can give it a big hit to survive if it takes a large amount of damage.

Sample Set #1: A Flying Landorus

Landorus  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Landorus-Therian (M) @ Flyinium Z  
Ability: Intimidate  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Fly  
- Earthquake  
- U-turn / Swords Dance 
- Protect

The first set is the newest one Landorus has been seen using due to the power of Z-moves. The idea of this set is you want to take advantage of your decent speed and amazing attack stat to KO as many things as possible before fainting. Fly and Earthquake can hit most Pokemon for neutral damage and with this Landorus, if you can attack first, you become a major threat. U-turn or Swords Dance is a personal preference and if your team can afford to allow Landorus to safely use Swords Dance, your Landorus can become a major threat, but U-turn is a more general option for the switching option. After a Swords Dance, Z-Fly from this Landorus can even KO opposing Zapdos which can come as a major surprise. 

Sample Set #2: Core of the Earth

Landorus  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Landorus-Therian @ Groundium Z  
Ability: Intimidate  
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 76 SpD / 180 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Earthquake  
- Rock Slide / Knock Off / Superpower
- U-turn  
- Protect

The second set utilizes the Ground-type Z-Crystal. This set was created by Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick) in his Landorus video guide linked here. The first thing Wolfe goes over is the speed stat which means after 1 of either Bulldoze, Icy Wind, or Rock Tomb, this Landorus will out-speed both Tapu Koko and Mega Gengar in order to threaten them with a very powerful Earthquake. Wolfe notes that with this much attack investment, this Landorus is just as powerful as a Jolly Garchomp. This Landorus can also survive Choice Specs Muddy Water from Tapu Fini and Hidden Power [Ice] from Tapu Koko which can be very helpful. 

While Earthquake, U-turn, and Protect are essential for this Landorus, the last attacking slot is personal preference. Rock Slide is good for flinches and to hit Charizard, Knock Off is great to get rid of items, mainly berries, and Superpower is good to handle Kangaskhan but as Kangaskhan have been getting bulkier, Superpower may decline in usage.

Sample Set #3: A World Champion's Vest

Landorus  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Intimidate    
EVs: 244 HP / 68 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 180 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Rock Slide  
- Earthquake  
- U-turn / Knock Off
- Superpower

Another set created by Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick) from his video guide linked here, This Landorus is meant to take hits and dish out a lot of damage. Wolfe notes how bulky this Landorus is as Life Orb Dazzling Gleam from Tapu Koko is a 5HKO, Tapu Fini's Muddy Water without Choice Specs is a 3HKO, Cresselia's Icy Wind is a 5HKO and Ice Beam has a strong chance to 3HKO this Landorus, which all shows as some big hits doesn't heavily damage your Landorus. One thing to note is that at -1 Attack this Landorus can survive Ice Punch from Kangaskhan.

The moves are pretty simple. Rock Slide, Superpower, and Earthquake are essential for this Landorus as, without Rock Slide, your match-up against Charizard gets substantially weaker and Superpower is great for opposing Kangaskhan and Tyranitar. U-turn or Knock Off depends on which one your more comfortable with. U-turn is great for switch initiative while Knock Off is great to remove important items, mainly berries.  

Sample Set #4: A Very Special Time

Landorus  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Landorus-Therian @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Intimidate   
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Earth Power  
- Sludge Bomb  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  
- Protect

This Landorus works because of how Landorus works well on teams with Tapu Bulu. We saw this kind of Landorus used at Dallas Regionals by both Blake Hopper (@BopperVGC) who finished in the Top 8 and Collin Heier (@BattleRoom) who finished 17th Place. Both Blake and Collin had Tapu Bulu on their teams which allows this type of Landorus to thrive.

Looking at its moves, Earth Power is great for opposing Tapu Koko as your opponent will expect Earthquake and it means your opponent can't Intimidate your Landorus. Sludge Bomb is great versus the Tapus, mainly with Tapu Bulu and Tapu Lele. Hidden Power [Ice] is for opposing Landorus and Salamence.

Partners for Landorus

The beauty of Landorus is that it can fit onto 99% of teams very easily because the job it performs is very simple and one that all teams would enjoy. While this is true, here are some Pokemon that can help Landorus perform its job better.

Earthquake Partners

zapdos.png  charizard-mega-y.png  cresselia.png
Landorus enjoys Pokemon that it can Earthquake alongside too. Zapdos, Charizard, and Cresselia work well because of there immunity to ground type moves either through typing or ability.

Tapu Pokemon

tapu-koko.png tapu-fini.png tapu-lele.png
Since Tapu Bulu's Grassy Terrain can limit the amount of damage, the other 3 Tapus can change the terrain to allow Landorus to get the full power of Earthquake which can help Landorus to shine.

How to beat Landorus

Water Types

tapu-fini.png milotic.png azumarill.png pelipper.png politoed.png ludicolo.png swampert-mega.png rotom-wash.png
Since Landorus is weak to water type moves, these 8 are the most common water types out there as they have a very strong matchup versus it. Barring Tapu Fini, Azumarill, and Pelipper, the other water types are commonly seen using Ice-type moves as well which can make Landorus' life even harder.

Pokemon with Ice-type Moves

abomasnow.png weavile.png zapdos.png cresselia.png kangaskhan-mega.png thundurus-therian.png porygon2.png pheromosa.png
While Weavile and Abomasnow are the only popular ice types in the format, these other Pokemon can be seen with Ice-type moves. Zapdos and Thundurus-Therian are the most common users of Hidden Power [Ice] which can deal a lot of damage to Landorus. 

Ice Beam is seen on Cresselia, Porygon2, and Pheromosa to which can threaten KOs and with a Life Orb, Pheromosa can even KO the bulkiest of Landorus. Kangaskhan has been running Ice Punch on the bulkier sets and even can even KO Landorus through Intimidate.


Thanks to its decent bulk, access to a variety of moves to allow it to deal with a variety of opponents, great ability, and ability to reliably fit onto so many teams, Landorus has proven to be a staple in competitive Pokemon and will see success for a very long time into the future. Hope you enjoyed this analysis. Check back for more and hope you enjoy your day.


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