Dragonite - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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Pokemon - Dragonite Movesets and Counters.png
This is a strategy guide for using Dragonite in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, and Held Items to use with Dragonite, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Dragonite - Related Guides
Pokemon SWSH - Dragonite Evolution and LearnsetEvolution and Learnset Pokemon SWSH - Dragonite Best BuildBuild for Ranked Battle

Basic Information for Dragonite

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Dragon Type Pokemon Sword and Shield - Flying Type
Abilities
Inner Focus The Pokemon is protected from flinching.
Multiscale (Hidden) Reduces damage when HP is full.

Type Defenses

Type
Takes 4x damage
Pokemon Ice Image
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Rock Image Pokemon Dragon Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Bug Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Grass Image
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Ground Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
91 134 95 100 100 80

Best Nature for Dragonite

Best Natures
Jolly
(+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
Timid
(+Spd, -Sp.Atk)

What are Natures?

Singles Movesets for Dragonite

Weakness Policy Physical Sweeper Moveset & Best Build

Weakness Policy Physical Sweeper Dragonite.png

Nature Jolly (+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Atk 252 /Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 167 / Atk 186 / Def 115 / Sp.Def 120 / Spd 145
Ability Multiscale
Held Item Weakness Policy
Moveset Outrage
Dual Wingbeat
Extreme Speed
Fire Punch

Dragonite is one of the best users of Weakness Policy thanks to its ability. With a wide physical movepool and great bulk, it is a formidable sweeper that can easily sweep unprepared teams.

About Dragonite's Moves

Outrage is Dragonite strongest move and can outright KO Pokemon that don't resist or are immune to Dragon-type moves. Dual Wingbeat is its secondary STAB and becomes Max Airstream during Dynamax.

Extreme Speed is a powerful priorty move that goes before other priorty attacks, such as Quick Attack, and allows Dragonite to potentially knock out faster but frailer threats. It's last move is Fire Punch, providing great neutral coverage and hits Steel-type Pokemon for super effective damage.

About Dragonite's EV Spread

We're using a straightforward EV spread with full investment in Attack and Speed so that Dragonite can hit hard and as fast as possible. The remaining 4 EVs are placed in HP to boost its overall bulk.

About Dragonite's Ability

We're using Multiscale for this build. This ability reduces the damage Dragonite gets from attacks by 50% if its at full health. This guarantees that Dragonite can get at least one Dragon Dance boost up!

About Dragonite's Held Item

This build uses Weakness Policy, an item that raises the Pokemon's attack and special attack by two stages when hit by a super-effective move. Thanks to its abiliity Multiscale, Dragonite can survive a super effective hit and get a boost from its item!

Other Viable Moves

Thunder Punch An alternative coverage move that allows Dragonite to hit Bulky Water-types.
Earthquake Stronger than Fire Punch and also allows Dragonite to hit Steel-types.
Superpower A powerful Fighting-type move. Becomes Max Knuckle during Dynamax,
Iron Head A good alternative to Fire Punch that lets Dragonite hit Fairy-types.
Stone Edge A powerful Rock-type move that allows Dragonite to take on Flying-types.
Dragon Dance Boosts Dragonite's Attack and Speed by one stage. Best used before Dynamaxing, although it becomes Max Guard during Dynamax.
Roost Restores 50% of the user's HP which can be helpful to reactivate Multiscale. Also serves as Max Guard when Dynamaxed.

Dragon Dance Moveset & Best Build

Dragon Dance Dragonite.png

Nature Jolly (+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Atk 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 167 / Atk 186 / Def 115 / Sp.Def 120 / Spd 145
Ability Multiscale
Held Item Lum Berry
Life Orb
Weakness Policy
Moveset Outrage
Dual Wingbeat
Fire Punch
Dragon Dance

Dragonite's bulk makes it a great setup sweeper with Dragon Dance, letting it fill the role of a lead sweeper or late-game sweeper.

About Dragonite's Moves

Dragon Dance boosts Dragonite's Attack and Speed by one stage, and thanks to its ability, it will always get a chance to set up using this move. Outrage is Dragonite strongest move and can outright KO Pokemon that don't resist or are immune to Dragon-type moves. Dual Wingbeat is its secondary STAB and becomes Max Airstream during Dynamax.

It's last attacking move is Fire Punch, providing great neutral coverage and hits Steel-type Pokemon for super effective damage.

About Dragonite's EV Spread

We're using a straightforward EV spread with full investment in Special Attack and Speed so that Dragonite can hit hard and as fast as possible. The remaining EVs are placed in HP to boost its overall bulk.

About Dragonite's Ability

We're using Multiscale for this build. This ability reduces the damage Dragonite gets from attacks by 50% if its at full health.

About Dragonite's Held Item

Lum Berry protects Dragonite from status, such as burns from Will-O-Wisp. Life Orb is an alternative that boosts the power of its moves at the cost of some residual damage. Finally, it can also use Weakness Policy but this item is best used if using it as a lead.

Other Viable Moves

Thunder Punch An alternative coverage move that allows Dragonite to hit Bulky Water-types.
Ice Punch An alternative coverage move that allows Dragonite to hit Bulky Ground-types.
Extreme Speed A +2 priority move that allows Dragonite to hit faster opposing Pokemon.
Earthquake Stronger than Fire Punch and also allows Dragonite to hit Steel-types.
Superpower A powerful Fighting-type move. Becomes Max Knuckle during Dynamax,
Iron Head A good alternative to Fire Punch that lets Dragonite hit Fairy-types.
Stone Edge A powerful Rock-type move that allows Dragonite to take on Flying-types.
Roost Restores 50% of the user's HP which can be helpful to reactivate Multiscale. Also serves as Max Guard when Dynamaxed.

Choice Band Moveset & Best Build

Dragon Dance Dragonite.png

Nature Jolly (+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Atk 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 167 / Atk 186 / Def 115 / Sp.Def 120 / Spd 145
Ability Multiscale
Held Item Choice Band
Moveset Outrage
Extreme Speed
Fire Punch
Earthquake

Dragonite's bulk makes it a great setup sweeper with Dragon Dance, letting it fill the role of a lead sweeper or late-game sweeper.

About Dragonite's Moves

Outrage is Dragonite strongest move and can outright KO Pokemon that don't resist or are immune to Dragon-type moves.

Extreme Speed is a powerful priorty move that goes before other priorty attacks, such as Quick Attack, and allows Dragonite to potentially knock out faster but frailer threats.

It's last two attacking moves are for coverage. Fire Punch, providing great neutral coverage and hits Steel-type Pokemon for super effective damage, while Earthquake lets it hit Rock, Fire, and Poison-types.

About Dragonite's EV Spread

We're using a straightforward EV spread with full investment in Special Attack and Speed so that Dragonite can hit hard and as fast as possible. The remaining EVs are placed in HP to boost its overall bulk.

About Dragonite's Ability

We're using Multiscale for this build. This ability reduces the damage Dragonite gets from attacks by 50% if its at full health.

About Dragonite's Held Item

Choice Band boosts the power of Dragonite's physical moves by 50% but restricts it to using only the initial move it used.

Other Viable Moves

Thunder Punch An alternative coverage move that allows Dragonite to hit Bulky Water-types.
Ice Punch An alternative coverage move that allows Dragonite to hit Bulky Ground-types.
Dual Wingbeat A secondary STAB move that hits twice, letting Dragonite break Substitute users.
Superpower A powerful Fighting-type move. Becomes Max Knuckle during Dynamax,
Iron Head A good alternative to Fire Punch that lets Dragonite hit Fairy-types.
Stone Edge A powerful Rock-type move that allows Dragonite to take on Flying-types.

Defensive Moveset & Best Build

Defensive Dragonite.png

Nature Calm (+Sp.Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 244 / Def 12 / Sp.Atk 4 / Sp.Def 244 / Spd 4
Final Stat Values HP 197 / Def 117 / Sp.Atk 121 / Sp.Def 166 / Spd 101
Ability Multiscale
Held Item Heavy-Duty Boots
Moveset Air Slash
Flamethrower
Ice Beam
Roost

Although Dragonite is best known as a bulky attacker, it can fill the role of a defensive Pokemon as well thanks to its natural bulk and great ability.

This Defensive Dragonite build was used by Japanese competitive player, Page, to reach 6th place in Ranked Battles Season 13!

About Dragonite's Moves

Air Slash is Dragonite's STAB move that deals good damage and has a 30% chance to cause flinching. It also becomes Max Airstream during Dynamax, allowing Dragonite to support its team by boosting their speed by 1 stage.

Flamethrower and Ice Beam are coverage moves that allow Dragonite to hit Steel, Grass, Ground, Flying, and opposing Dragon-types.

Roost is Dragonite's most important move, restoring half of its maximum HP and also removing it's Flying-type for the turn it's used. This is useful for when you're expecting a super effective Ice or Rock-type move, allowing Dragonite to survive a potentially fatal blow.

About Dragonite's EV Spread

We're using a modified defensive EV spread for this Dragonite to capitalize on its natural bulk. 244 HP EVs give Dragonite an odd-numbered HP at level 50, allowing it withstand strong moves like Thunder.

12 Defense EVs and 244 Sp.Def EVs round out Dragonite's bulk, allowing it to take hits from both its physical and special side. The remaining 8 EVs are split between Sp.Atk and Spd - 4 EVs in Sp.Atk and 4 EVs in Spd, to slightly boost Dragonite's offensive capabilities.

About Dragonite's Ability

We're using Multiscale for this build. This ability reduces the damage Dragonite gets from attacks by 50% if its at full health.

About Dragonite's Held Item

We're giving this Dragonite Heavy-Duty Boots. This item protects Dragonite from all entry hazards, such as Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes.

Other Viable Moves

Hurricane High base power Flying-type STAB move.
Surf Coverage move for opponents that Dragonite couldn't otherwise handle, such as Rhyperior.
Thunderbolt You can replace Flamethrower with Thunderbolt to give Dragonite the fabled "BoltBeam" coverage.

How to Use Dragonite Effectively

Use it as a Setup Sweeper

Dragonite faces stiff competition from stronger and faster Dragon-types, so capitalize on its unique traits - its bulkiness and wide movepool. Dragonite has great bulk, further boosted by Multiscale, and has a large physical and special movepool that includes powerful coverage moves.

As a result of these traits, Dragonite is best used as a setup sweeper - accumulating Dragon Dance boosts and sweeping, instead of outright attacking the opposing team.

How to Build a Team with Dragonite

Although Dragonite faces stiff competition from the likes of Garchomp and Dragapult, its great bulk and access to unique physical and special moves make it a great secondary sweeper in balanced and Hyper Offense teams.

Use it as a Lead Sweeper

Dragonite excels as a lead sweeper - the first Pokemon you send out at the start of the battle. Thanks to its ability Multiscale, it can safely set up a Dragon Dance (or two) and sweep the opposing team with its powerful moves. As a result, it's a good choice for offensive lead in offense-oriented teams.

Use it as a Defensive Pokemon

Dragonite can also fill the role of a defensive Pokemon, with its Dragon-typing giving it key resistances to the common Grass,Fire, and Water-types that fill the current metagame.

The following teams show some examples of ways in which Dragonite can be effectively used in a team for Ranked Battle.

Weakness Policy + Dynamax Build Team

Lead Dynamax Choice Band Sweeper Special Sweeper
Pokemon SWSH - Dragonite ImageDragonite Pokemon SWSH - Entei ImageEntei Pokemon SWSH - Starmie ImageStarmie

Dragonite's Multiscale ability makes it one of the best Weakness Policy users as it's often guaranteed to get the boost due to its increased survivability. It's main role in this team is to set up Max Airstream with Dual Wingbeat, and then soften the opposing team with its powerful STAB and coverage moves.

Slower physical attackers like Entei appreciate Dragonite's Max Airstream, allowing it to outrun it's usual checks and threaten them with its strong physical attacks. Its Fire-typing also helps deter Fairy-types that can easily come in and wall Dragonite.

Starmie is this team's special attacker, using its moves to round off the team's coverage. Access to Thunderbolt allow it to deter bulky Water-types that might try to wall its teammates, while its speed deters slower attackers from switching in.

Learn more about building Hyper Offense teams by checking out our full guide below.
How to Build an Offensive Team | Best Hyper Offense Team

Defensive Build Team

Lead Hazard Setter Bulky Physical Attacker Defensive Pivot
Pokemon SWSH - Swampert ImageSwampert Pokemon SWSH - Scizor ImageScizor Pokemon SWSH - Dragonite ImageDragonite

In this defensive team, Dragonite fills the role of an all-purpose defensive pivot. Both Swampert and Scizor appreciate the Dragon Pokemon's key resistances to Grass and Fire-type moves respectively, and both of them can quickly pivot to their partner using Flip Turn and U-Turn.

Swampert fills the role of a hazard setter, setting up Stealth Rock and phazing opposing Pokemon with Yawn.

Scizor, on the other hand, threatens both Swampert and Dragonite's checks and counters with its dual Bug and Steel-type moves.

Learn more about building Defensive teams by checking out our full guide below.
How to Build a Defensive Team

Counters for Dragonite

Dragonite
Weakness Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Rock Image Pokemon Dragon Image Pokemon Fairy Image

Overcome Multiscale With Chip Damage or Multi-Hit Moves

Multiscale only activates when Dragonite's HP is full. Setting up environments that chip away at Dragonite's health makes it difficult for Dragonite to take advantage of Multiscale. Likewise, Multiscale only reduces damage for the first hit of multi-hit moves, allowing you to break Multiscale, and pile on the damage.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Cloyster ImageCloyster Ranking: ★★★★★
・Access to the multi-hit STAB move Icicle Spear. With Skill Link it can guarantee five super-effective hits.
・Also has the priority-move Ice Shard which can outspeed Dragonite's Roost.

Moveset & Best Build for Cloyster
Pokemon SWSH - Alolan Ninetales ImageAlolan Ninetales Ranking: ★★★★★
Snow Warning summons Hail which chips away at Dragonite's health.
・100% accurate STAB Blizzard in the Hail can knock out Dragonite.
・Has an immunity to Dragonite's Dragon-type moves thanks its Fairy-type.

Moveset & Best Build for Alolan Ninetales
Pokemon SWSH - Pheromosa ImagePheromosa Ranking: ★★★★
・Focus Sash + Triple Axel is a solid combo against Dragonite.
・Outspeeds Dragonite even after one Max Airstream.

Moveset & Best Build for Pheromosa
Pokemon SWSH - Weavile ImageWeavile Ranking: ★★★★
・Life Orb-boosted Triple Axel can knock out Dragonite if all three hits land.
・Since Triple Axel's damage relies on succesffully landing consecutive hits, it may not deal enough damage if it misses.
Pokemon SWSH - Glastrier ImageGlastrier Ranking: ★★★★
・Has access to STAB Icicle Spear.
・Since Glastrier is slow, it can also benefit from items such as Weakness Policy or a Custap Berry.

Moveset & Best Build for Glastrier
Pokemon SWSH - Mamoswine ImageMamoswine Ranking: ★★★★
・Has access to STAB Icicle Spear
・Dynamaxed Dragonite will be able to survive 5 hits of Icicle Spear, though.

Moveset & Best Build for Mamoswien
Pokemon SWSH - Tyranitar ImageTyranitar Ranking: ★★★★
Sand Stream summons Sandstorm which chips away at Dragonite's health.
・Can deal super-effective damage with a STAB Stone Edge.
・Be careful of Fighting-type moves.

Moveset & Best Build for Tyranitar
Pokemon SWSH - Hippowdon ImageHippowdon Ranking: ★★★★
Sand Stream summons Sandstorm which chips away at Dragonite's health.
・Natural bulk and access to recovery moves such as Slack Off can somewhat wall Dragonite.
・Also has access to Stealth Rocks which can be preemptively set up to chip away at Dragonite's health.

Moveset & Best Build for Hippowdon

Take Hits With Bulky Pokemon and Counterattack With Super-Effective Moves

Defensive teams also have the option of whittling down Dragonite by stalling him out. Wear down Dragonite's HP through super-effective moves while taking care to keep your own health up.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Pokemon SWSH - Porygon2 ImagePorygon2 Ranking: ★★★★★
Trace lets you copy Dragonite's Multiscale. In tandem with Recover,you can use Dragonite's own ability against it.
Ice Beam should deal significant damage to Dragonite especially after Multiscale is deactivated.

Moveset & Best Build for Porygon2
Pokemon SWSH - Cresselia ImageCresselia Ranking: ★★★★
・Can tank most of Dragonite's hits.
・Can deal 4x super-effective damage thanks to Ice Beam

Moveset & Best Build for Cresselia
Pokemon SWSH - Tapu Fini ImageTapu Fini Ranking: ★★★★
・Has an immunity to Dragonite's Dragon-type moves thanks to the Fairy-type.
・Can tank most of Dragonite's hits.
Ice Beam should deal significant damage to Dragonite especially after Multiscale is deactivated.

Moveset & Best Build for Tapu Fini

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