What is Rain Dance?
Rain Dance is a move that was introduced in Gold/Silver/Crystal. At the time, weather functions were very new, and so there was no way of enforcing permanant weather depending on the location. This meant that moves had to be made which could summon a weather effect for a set number of turns. These were: Sandstorm, Rain Dance and Sunny Day, each summoning a Sandstorm, Heavy Rain (which is what I will refer the weather condition as from now on) and Harsh Sunlight. In D/P/Pt, each weather effect gained much more use than what they were before. Back then, Sandstorm only hurt non-Rock/Ground/Steel types, and Sunlight and Rain only powered up Fire and Water moves respectively.
Now, however, Sandstorm provides a +1 Stage Sp.Def boost to Rock Types, Harsh Sunlight now weakens Water-typed Moves and allows instant use of Solar Beam without having to charge up, and Heavy Rain causes Fire type moves to be weakened and Thunder to have 100% Accuracy. As well as this, there are several abilities that revolve around weather. Because this article focuses on Rain only, we'll be looking at the effects of rain in more detail.
Workings of the Rain
Effects of Rain
Dry Skin: In Heavy Rain, Pokémon with the Dry Skin Trait heal 12.5% of their health at the end of each turn, and being hit with a Water-type move heals 25%, however, in Sunlight, they lose 12.5% and take an extra 25% damage from Fire moves.
All Water-type attacks do x1.5 damage.
All Fire-type attacks do x0.5 damage.
Weather Ball has a Type of Water and has Base Power 100
Solar Beam has a Base Power of 60 as opposed to 120
Swift Swim doubles the Speed of Pokémon in the rain. This may not seem like much, but considering the fact that all Swift Swimmers are Water Type and so get STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) and a x1.5 from the Rain on Water Moves, this is what allows Rain Dance teams to sweep fast and hard.
The following all have Swift Swim as a possible Trait. Listed in order from highest Base Speed to lowest: Floatzel (115), Luvdisc (97), Lumineon (91), Kingdra (85), Kabutops (80), Ludicolo (70), Mantine (70), Seaking (68), Omastar (55), Relicanth (55), Gorebyss (52), Huntail (52).
With Swift Swim, you are able to outspeed and take down counters who would otherwise cause problems for your team. Notable things to outspeed are; Timid Choice Scarf Heatran at 417 Speed. To safely outspeed, you require 207 Speed before the rain. This is easily accomplished. 263 is also a good number to try and hit, as then you take out Timid Choice Scarf Gengar, who would otherwise take you all out with Thunderbolt.
As you begin building your Super Ultra Awesome Rain Team, there are archetypes your Pokémon must fall into, in order to have a properly functioning Rain Team.
Rain Lead: Gets Rainfall to activate as soon as possible, then brings in a sweeper as efficiently as possible, for example, using U-Turn or Explosion. Some can set up Stealth Rocks, and all will usually carry Damp Rock to prolong Rain.
Back-Up Rain Dancer / Rain Dance Sweeper: Rain only lasts 8 Turns in OU, and sometimes it can be wiped out by another weather condition. It's best to try and have several Rain Dancers so you can keep sweeping. Usually, any other Rain Dancer will carry Reflect or a Status Move in order to support the team further, or perhaps will use the Rain to their own advantage.
Counter Support: Obviously, having a team full of mainly Water-types attracts lots of counters. A lot of Pokémon can take out a whole unprepared Rain Dance team, so it's common to see something that's not exactly Rain Dance related, but can answer the threat of a counter.
Usually, a Rain Dance team will have at least 3 Pokémon that can abuse the rain, in one way or another. This can be a Swift Swim Sweeper or an Annoyer like Ludicolo, or even an Electric-type abusing the 100% Thunder Accuracy.
Also, when it comes to the Rain Dancers themselves, there is no set amount. You should aim to have as many as possible. This will make summoning the Rain a lot easier. Not all Dancers need Damp Rock, so having Rain Dance as a filler on even a Support Pokémon is a good thing to have. Not all Dancers have to be support Pokémon, however, some Sweepers can even find space for Rain Dance between their offensive moves. However, it's recommened you have a very fast Dancer, and a very Bulky Dancer, in order to be able to set up Rain quickly and effectively, and as a back-up in case it takes more than 16 turns to win.
Building your team
A lead is important as a part of any team, and even so for Rain Dance teams. The lead should aim to accomplish setting up the Rain and helping the sweepers come in safely.
Azelf is a great choice, thanks to it's high Speed, as well as being able to set up Stealth Rock s, which will help turn many 2HKO's into OHKOs. It also can use a very powerful U-Turn at 120 Base Attack, or even use the more powerful Explosion.
Bronzong is the most reliable Dancer in the game. It has amazing defences, and with Rain and Levitate, it has no Weaknesses. 10 natural resistances also means that the opponent will have a hard time taking it down, meaning you will be guaranteed that 8 Turn Rain. It even has a great support movepool, consisting of Reflect, Light Screen, Stealth Rocks and even Explosion.
Jirachi is very different to any other Rain Dance lead. Most Rain Dancing leads set up Rain before switching to an appropriate sweeper. Jirachi, can do this easily, with access to U-Turn as well as Rain Dance and Stealth Rock. It also has great defences and typing, meaning it's easy to pull of a Rain Dance. However, in the Rain, Jirachi can make use of it. Thunder has a 100% Accuracy and thanks to Serene Grace, it has a 60% chance of breaking Protect and Paralysis, while Water Pulse is boosted by the Rain and also has a 40% chance to confuse the foe.
Electrode has access to the fastest Taunt and Explosion in the game, and so makies for an amazing Rain Dance Lead. It also has STAB Thunder on a decent Special attack to boot. It's amazing natural speed means it can pull off Rain Dance before anything has a chance to Taunt.
You can't just choose a bunch of sweepers and throw them together. Certain sweepers work well with each other while some don't.
Kingdra is a legendary beast in the Rain. Bulky HP and Defences backed by very tough offensive stats make it unpredictable as it can attack with both Special and Physical attacks. It can even run a devastating mixed set, and it gets STAB on almost perfect coverage of Water and Dragon, one of which is Rain boosted, one of which is already powerful.
Ludicolo has STAB on Water and Grass. Combine this with Ice and you have amazing coverage on your hands. Ludicolo also has a respectable Attack to work with along with Swords Dance, so it's special- side isn't stopped by Blissey either. Ludicolo also has amazing defensive typing and serves as an amazing wall even outside of the Rain, making very unpredictable and very dangerous.
Kabutops has an excellent attack stat and an even better offensive typing. As well as this, it can further boost itself using Swords Dance. Kabutops is one of the best physical sweepers in Rain, and should be a first choice for raw power.
Omastar has the highest Base Sp.Atk of any Rock/Water type outside of Ubers. It's typing also aids its sweeping potential and makes a great counterpart to Kabutops.
Now, having loads of Water types draws you into Grass and Electric moves. And when you have things like Kabutops and Omastar, they're going to hit hard. Tyranitar also causes problems, and there are a variety of Pokémon that can do such a job.
Dugtrio seems strange, as it too is open to Grass moves. However, it can easily take down Tyranitar and Blissey by trapping them in and 2HKOing both with a STAB Earthquake.
Bronzong is revered as one of the premier walls of OU, with a plethora of resistances, it can set up Rain Dance with impunity, switch in on most Electric/Grass moves and usually Explode. It can also set up those oh-so-helpful Stealth Rocks.
Scizor can do a similar job to Dugtrio, hitting Tyranitar and Blissey very hard. It can also take out Abomasnow, who would otherwise threaten Rain teams with Auto-Hail and STAB Grass moves.Rain also complements Scizor's Fire weakness. In fact, Zapdos Heat Wave is a 2HKO on Scizor in the Rain.
Jolteon makes a great switch-in for inevitable Electric attacks with Volt Absorb, and has STAB Thunder to reply. Jolteon even has Baton Pass so Sp.Atk boosts from Charge Beam ot SubPetaya can be passed to Kingdra and the like.
Starmie has amazing Speed, letting it pull off a Rain Dance unhindered. And then, it has a Base 100 Special Attack from which to launch STAB Hydro Pumps and Thunders. It even has Reflect, Light Screen, Recover and Rapid Spin, making it one of the best utilities a Rain Team can ask for.
Lanturn is similar to Starmie - in the rain it has decent Special Attack from which to hit STAB Hydro Pump and Thunder. It also shares Volt Absorb with Jolteon making it a great switch in to Electric moves. Lanturn is an amazing special wall and even resists the famous BoltBeam combo.
Of course, as I mentioned, there are a variety of Pokémon that can give Rain Teams headaches. They can range from resisting and walling a team completely, even in the Rain, by spreading Status therefore reducing effectiveness or by removing the Rain completely.
Tyranitar is so common it must be considered at all costs. With access to instant Sandstorm which not only stopts your Rain team, but stops Tyranitar being taken out by your Water attacks because of the Sand's Special Defence boost.
Abomasnow has a threat like Tyranitar - Hail stops the Rain and continues to hurt your Pokémon. And then, it's even more dangerous because of STAB Grass Moves which can easily take your Support down.
Blissey will wall your Special Sweepers to no end. Wish+Protect can stall you to death before you know it and exhaust your Rain. It also has Thunder Wave and Thunderbolt to smack you around.
Vaporeon has Water Absorb. This is enough to make every Rain Sweeper have to predict well before Hydro Pumping everything. It can stall with Wish and Protect, hit you back with boosted Surfs, and it's general bulk means it will be difficult to take down.
Celebi's Grass Typing + Great overall bulk means it can switch in with impunity and hit you hard with Calm Mind boosted Grass Knots. It also has Thunder Wave and Leech Seed to make your life even harder.
Tentacruel resists Water and Ice, and it has such high HP and Sp.Def, it can take Grass and Electric moves without a second though. It can also lay Toxic Spikes which unless you have Qwilfish (or it already exploded), will cause problems.
Lapras has Water Absorb and a x4 Ice Resist, meaning it can switch in easily and launch Thunders to take you down. It can even ignore Hidden Power Electric, thanks to it's high HP and Sp.Def.
Quagsire has Water Absorb, and an incredible Ground/Water typing meaning HP Electric will be useless, and so HP Grass must be considered. It even has good bulk to be able to switch in repeatedly.
Golduck has Cloud Nine, meaning any Rain boosts (such as Swift Swim and the attack boost) are effectively cancelled. It doesn't function as effectively as Tyranitar, but it can be difficult to take out whilst in play without Rain on your side.
Mantine has humungous Sp.Def, meaning it can shrug off even HP Electrics with ease. It also has Water Absorb and takes neutral from Grass moves. However, it has beyond-mediocre defences, so Kabutops can take it out, even with neutral attacks.
You've seen lots of different options for a Rain Dance team, and hopefully you've experimented quite a fair bit. However, choosing the right Pokémon to make a successful Rain team is only the beginning. You have to test it a lot, to make sure it works, and you have to be sure you're getting the most out of each Pokémon. Here are some tips for using Rain;
Amp up the Offense - You have 8 turn to reduce the opponent's team into 6 pieces of wet laundry. Don't waste that time setting up or letting your opponent mount a defence. Keep the Rain momentum going. You need to be constantly whittling down the opponent otherwise they will eventually outstall you.
Surf's Up, but don't get washed away - Of course, having a 95 Base Power STAB Rain Boostest Attack is nice, but of course, once they see it is a Rain Team, they'll usually bring out a counter which can sponge these attacks with ease. Try not to go overboard and ignore the need for strategy, as you don't want to be healing their Water Absorbers.
Sacrificing and Preservation - If you end up losing two sweepers but end up having your Opponent down to less that 50% overall, that's considered an achievement, as you can then bring in one last sweeper to tear through the opponent cleanly. Even with Support, it's much more effective if Bronzong sets up the Rain and explodes on Tyranitar thus allowing something else to come in easily and wreak havoc.
However, it's also a good idea to keep a sweeper hidden in the wings for late-game. Having one sweeper dead and another one ready is better than having 2 sweepers at 50% where they can be picked off with Priority moves and residual damage. Even having a spare Rainer in case is helpful, in case they bring in a late- Tyranitar. It's better to have Zapdos continually Roost before switching than having it launch Thunders like it's going out of style - you have sweepers for that.
Rain is one of the most fearsome Weather effects in existence today. It can wipe a team off the face of the planet in a second. However, it's also one of the most difficult to use. A lot of people have a "Rain Team" that was used with almost no success lost somewhere. It takes practice and experience to use a Rain Dance team well, but when done properly, they are forces to be reckoned with.
When it comes to a High Risk/High Return strategy like the Rain, a single mistake is very costly. It is important to get to know the workings of a Rain Team well, such as concerns and problems the Rain faces. It is difficult to use well, but if done proficiently, can be one of the best strategies ever.
It's all about experience and testing, but when you've mastered it, you'll be singing.
Page written by Zy.
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