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

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This is a strategy guide for using Moltres 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 Moltres, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Moltres - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Moltres

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Fire Type Flying Type
Pressure The Pokemon raises the foe's PP usage.
Flame Body (Hidden) Contact with the Pokemon may burn the attacker.

Type Defenses

Takes 4x damage
Pokemon Rock Image
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Electric Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Steel Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Bug Image
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Ground Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
90 100 90 125 85 90

Best Nature for Moltres

Best Natures
(+Sp.Atk, -Atk)
(+Def, -Atk)

Singles Movesets for Moltres

Life Orb Special Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Pressure Stall Moltres.png

Nature Modest (+Sp.Atk, -Atk)
EV Spread HP28 / Sp.Atk 252 / Spd 188
Final Stat Values HP 169 / Def 110 / Sp.Atk 194 / Sp.Def 105 / Spd 134
Ability Flame Body
Held Item Life Orb
Moveset Fire Blast
Scorching Sands
Solar Beam

Moltres can fill the role of a special sweeper and is a good choice to round out a team's Fire/Water/Grass offensive core.

About Moltres' Moves

Fire Blast serves as this set's primary STAB move. It capitalizes on Moltres' base 125 Sp.Atk to deal as much damage as possible while also offering the chance to burn. It can also be used as Max Flare to set up sunny weather for itself and its team.

Hurricane is its secondary STAB and has a 30% chance to cause flinching. Though harder to use in sunny weather, it does let Moltres increase its speed with Max Airstream.

Scorching Sands is a coverage move that allows Moltres to hit Rock-types, and also has a 30% chance to cause a burn.

Moltres' last move is Solar Beam, another coverage move that allows Moltres to deal with Water and Ground-types. It has fantastic synergy with sunny weather allowing you to fire off the move in one turn instead of two.

About Moltres' EV Spread

This spread maximizes Moltres' Special Attack while also trading out a bit of speed in exchange for a bit of bulk. Thankfully, Max Airstream can give additional speed boosts if needed.

About Moltres' Ability

For this build we're choosing to go with Moltres' hidden ability, Flame Body. When Moltres is hit by a contact move, it has a 30% chance to inflict a burn on the attacker.

Partnered with Fire Blast and Scorching Sands, this build aims to spread the burn status across the enemy team. Ideally you should target landing a burn on the enemy's physial attackers to cripple their attack stat.

About Moltres' Held Item

Life Orb boosts the power of Moltres' moves to give the attacks a little more punch.

Other Viable Moves

Flamethrower A less powerful, yet more accurate, alternative to Fire Blast. Deals less damage dealt when used as Max Flare.
Will-o-Wisp A guaranteed way to spread burn at the cost of not dealing damage. Can also be used as Max Guard.
Air Slash A less powerful yet more accurate alternative to Air Slash. Deals less damage dealt when used as Max Airstream.
Ancient Power Rock-type coverage move to handle other Flying-type Pokemon such as Zapdos. Can also be used to disarm Focus Sash users when used as Max Rockfall.

Pressure Stall Moveset & Best Build

Nature Bold (+Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Def 252 / Sp.Atk 4
Final Stat Values HP 197 / Def 156 / Sp.Atk 146 / Sp.Def 105 / Spd 110
Ability Pressure
Held Item Kee Berry
Moveset Burn Up

Moltres has a niche as a relatively fast stall Pokemon that's best used to counter common defensive Pokemon such as Celesteela and Ferrothorn.

About Moltres' Moves

Burn Up has the unique ability of removing Moltres' Fire typing for as long as it stays on the field. When used in conjunction with Roost, its main recovery move, it also gets rid of its Flying-typing for that turn.

This combination essentially removes all of Moltres' weaknesses, leaving behind a surprisingly durable wall with a reliable form of recovery.

Moltres can now even face threats such as Tyranitar or Landorus who would otherwise scare Moltres away with Rock-type attacks. With Will-o-Wisp, Moltres can retaliate by burning these key physical attackers.

About Moltres' EV Spread

We're maximizing the distribution of EVs to HP and Defense to make Moltres as bulky as possible.

About Moltres' Ability

This build revolves around its Pressure ability, which causes the opposing Pokemon to lose 2 PP instead of 1.

About Moltres' Held Item

We're giving Moltres a Kee Berry to let it further increase its physical defenses.

Other Viable Moves

Mystical Fire An alternative STAB Fire-type move that lowers the opponent's Special Attack which helps Moltres deal with Special Attacking threats.
Scorching Sands Ground-type coverage to deal with other Fire-types such as Heatran. Also gives Moltres access to Max Quake to increase Special Defense.
Air Slash STAB Flying-type move that has a chance to flinch the enemy.

How to Use Moltres Effectively

Maximize Power through Dynamax

The combined boons Moltres gets from its different Max Moves can turn it into a strong attacker. Increase Speed and Special Defense through Max Airstream or Max Quake, while you can empower your Fire-type attacks with the sun from Max Flare.

Use it as a Stall Pokemon

Although it faces competition from Corviknight as a stall Pokemon, Moltres is capable of beating Ferrothorn and Celesteela - two Pokemon that the Raven Pokemon has trouble beating.

How to Build a Team with Moltres

Moltres is a good choice for a team lacking a Fire-type looking to fill out its Fire/Water/Grass core. Its ability to inflict burns through its Ability and moves also make it a great status spreader.

Offensive Fire Core

Both Defensive and Offensive Moltres can easily fit in balanced teams that require a Fire Core.

Team Options for Moltres

Togekiss ImageTogekiss Rillaboom ImageRillaboom
Lead Tailwind Swords Dance Sweeper
Slowbro ImageSlowbro Moltres ImageMoltres
Defensive Wall Choice Specs Sweeper
Clefable ImageClefable Dragapult ImageDragapult
Cleric/Special Wall Late-Game Sweeper

Moltres patches up Rillaboom's lacking coverage while also boasting great synergy with Slowbro. The three form a Fire/Water/Grass core, covering each other's weaknesses and lack of coverage with their typing and moves.

Counters for Moltres

Counter It With Strong Rock-types

Moltres suffers from a 4x weakness to Rock-type moves. Matchup accordingly to easily overcome its natural bulk.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Tyranitar ImageTyranitar Ranking: ★★★★★
・Has higher Special Defense thanks to Sandstorm.
・Can easily counterattack Moltres with STAB Rock-type moves.

Moveset & Best Build for Tyranitar
Landorus (Therian Forme) ImageLandorus (Therian Forme) Ranking: ★★★★★
・Outspeeds Moltres
・Can overpower Moltres with Rock-type coverage moves, including Max Rockfall.

Moveset & Best Build for Landorus
Nihilego ImageNihilego Ranking: ★★★★★
・High Special Defense to tank Moltres' hits.
・Can counterattack with STAB Rock-type moves including Max Rockfall.
Moveset & Best Build for Nihilego

Counter It With Special Attacking Water and Electric-types.

Outside of the rare Solar Beam variants, Moltres struggles beating Water-types as they take very little damage from its STAB and coverage moves. Faster Water-types in particular can easily KO Moltres if it doesn't switch.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Zapdos ImageZapdos Ranking: ★★★★★
・Resists Moltres' Flying-type moves.
・Can counterattack with STAB Electric-type moves.

Moveset & Best Build for Zapdos
Heat Rotom ImageHeat Rotom Ranking: ★★★★
・Resists both of Moltres' STAB moves.
・Can counterattack with STAB Electric-type moves.

Moveset & Best Build for Heat Rotom
Wash Rotom ImageWash Rotom Ranking: ★★★★
・Resists both of Moltres' STAB moves.
・Can counterattack with STAB Electric-type and Water-type moves.

Moveset & Best Build for Wash Rotom

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