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

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Rayquaza - Movesets and Counters.png
This is a strategy guide for using Rayquaza 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 Rayquaza, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Rayquaza - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Rayquaza

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Dragon Type Flying Type
Abilities
Air Lock Eliminates the effects of weather.

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
105 150 90 150 90 95

Best Nature for Rayquaza

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

What are Natures?

Singles Movesets for Rayquaza

Physical Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Physical Attacker Rayquaza.png

Nature Jolly (+Spd, -Sp.Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Atk 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 181 / Atk 202 / Def 110 / Sp.Atk 153 / Sp.Def 110 / Spd 161
Ability Air Lock
Held Item Life Orb
Lum Berry
Focus Sash
Moveset Dragon Ascent
Earthquake
Outrage
Dragon Dance

Access to a boosting move and a strong Flying-type STAB makes Rayquaza one of the best Dynamax Leads in the current Series 8 Metagame, and is very difficult to switch into thanks to its great coverage moves.

About Rayquaza's Moves

Dragon Ascent is a powerful physical Flying-type STAB, but lowers Rayquaza's Defense and Special Defense by 1 stage after using. It's best used during Dynamax where it becomes a Base 140 Physical Flying-type Max Airstream that gets ride of the defense drops and instead boosts Rayquaza's Speed stat by 1 stage.

Earthquake is its main coverage move and provides great neutral coverage, hitting Pokemon like Heatran, Metagross, and Zacian that take little damage form Rayquaza's STAB moves.

Outrage is Rayquaza's secondary STAB move but locks it into the attack for 2-3 turns before inflicting confusion. It's best used during Dynamax where it becomes Max Wyrmwind, which lowers the opposing Pokemon's Attack by 1 stage.

Dragon Dance is its last move, boosting Rayquaza's Attack and Speed by 1 stage. It's best used when you're expecting a switch, such as when you're facing a Pokemon that can't do much against Rayquaza. It also becomes Max Guard during Dynamax.

About Rayquaza's EV Spread

We're using a simple physical attacking EV Spread with a Jolly Nature, with full investment in Attack and Speed so that Rayquaza hits as hard and as fast as possible. The remaining 4 EVs are invested in HP to round off its bulk.

About Rayquaza's Ability

Air Lock is Rayquaza's only Ability. This negates the effects of weather and prevents Pokemon from getting secondary effects from weather, such as the Special Defense boost from Sandstorm.

About Rayquaza's Held Item

Rayquaza has several items that it can use for this build.

Life Orb boosts the power of Rayquaza's movest by 30% at the cost of some recoil damage.

Lum Berry cures status effects such as Poison, Burn, Paralysis, and Sleep.

Focus Sash prevents Rayquaza from getting knocked out by a strong super effective move, leaving it with 1 HP.

Other Viable Moves

Extreme Speed Can replace Earthquake and synergizes well with Dragon Dance, and allows Rayquaza to hit faster and frailer attackers such as Cinderace.
Stone Edge An alternative coverage move that can replace Earthquake that lets Rayquaza hit opposing Flying-types such as Lugia.
Iron Head An alternative coverage move that lets Rayquaza hit Fairy-types such as Xerneas.
Brick Break Allows Rayquaza to break Reflect and Light Screen, and also becomes Max Knuckle in Dynamax.
Waterfall A Water-type coverage move that lets Rayquaza hit Hippowdon and Landorus (Therian Forme). It also has a 20% chance to flinch the target.
Swords Dance Can replace Dragon Dance for an immediate +2 Attack boost.
Flamethrower Can replace one of its coverage moves, allowing Rayquaza to hit Steel-types.
Fire Blast A stronger Fire-type coverage move but has lower accuracy than Flamethrower.
Overheat A stronger Fire-type coverage move that lowers Rayquaza's Special Attack by 2 stages.

Special Attacker Moveset & Best Build

Special Attacker Rayquaza.png

Nature Timid (+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Sp.Atk 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 181 / Atk 153 / Def 110 / Sp.Atk 202 / Sp.Def 110 / Spd 161
Ability Air Lock
Held Item Life Orb
Power Herb
Focus Sash
Moveset Hurricane
Draco Meteor
Fire Blast
Earth Power

Although it doesn't have the same offensive presence as the physical attacking variants, a special sweeping Rayquaza is just as threatening - boasting a great special movepool that lets it hit its usual checks and counters.

About Rayquaza's Moves

Hurricane is Rayquaza's strongest STAB move and has a 30% chance to inflict confusion. Since Air Lock prevents the effects of Rain Dance, this move is best used during Dynamax where it becomes a strong Max Airstream that boosts Rayquqza's speed by 1 stage.

Draco Meteor is its secondary STAB move and provides strong neutral coverage, although the move decreases Rayquaza's Special Attack by two stages. It's best used during Dynamax where it becomes Max Wyrmwind, which lowers the opposing Pokemon's Attack by 1 stage.

Its last two moves are for coverage. Fire Blast hits bulky Steel-types such as Ferrothorn, while Earth Power lets Rayquaza hit Heatran for super effective damage.

About Rayquaza's EV Spread

We're using a simple physical attacking EV Spread with a Timid Nature, with full investment in Special Attack and Speed so that Rayquaza hits as hard and as fast as possible. The remaining 4 EVs are invested in HP to round off its bulk.

About Rayquaza's Held Item

Rayquaza has several items that it can use for this build.

Life Orb boosts the power of Rayquaza's movest by 30% at the cost of some recoil damage.

Power Herb allows Rayquaza to instantly use moves that require charging.

Focus Sash prevents Rayquaza from getting knocked out by a strong super effective move, leaving it with 1 HP.

Other Viable Moves

Meteor Beam A two-turn Steel-type move that raises Raqyuaza's Special Attack by 1 stage before attacking. It's best used with a Power Herb.
Extreme Speed Allows Rayquaza to hit faster and frailer attackers. Even with a hindering nature, it still hits hard thanks to Rayquaza's great Attack stat.
Hydro Pump A Water-type move that allows Rayquaza to hit bulky Fire and Ground-types.
Surf A weaker Water-type coverage but has better accuracy than Hydro Pump.
Giga Impact A powerful Normal-type move that's best used during Dynamax, where it becomes Max Strike - lowering the opposing Pokemon's Speed stat by 1 stage. Even with a hindering nature, it still hits hard thanks to Rayquaza's great Attack stat.
Ice Beam An Ice-type coverage move that allows Rayquaza to easily KO Landorus (Therian Forme) and Hippowdon.
Blizzard A stronger Ice-type coverage move but has poorer accuracy. It's best used in Dynamax where it becomes Max Hailstorm.
Energy Ball A Grass-type coverage move that lets Rayquaza beat Quagsire and Gastrodon.
Solar Beam A stronger Grass-type coverage move but requires two turns to pull off. It's best used during Dynamax where it attacks instantly and becomes Max Overgrowth.
Substitute Can replace one of its coverage moves to protect it from Ditto's Imposter.
Protect Allows Rayquaza to scout the opposing Pokemon's moves. It also becomes Max Guard during Dynamax.
Focus Blast A Fighting-type coverage move that allows Rayquaza to hit Ferrothorn, Heatran, and Tyranitar for super effective damage.
Thunderbolt An Electric-type coverage move that allows Rayquaza to beat Flying-types such as Corviknight, Lugia, and Celesteela.
Thunder A stronger Electric-type STAB that's best used during Dynamax, becoming Max Lightning.

How to Use Rayquaza Effectively

A Powerful and Versatile Dynamax Attacker

Rayquaza is a powerful attacker that can run both physical and special movesets. It's also an attractive Dynamax Pokemon for a team as it has access to Max Airstream, which allows it to boost its Speed by 1 stage every time it uses the move.

This makes the Sky High Pokemon very difficult to switch into or outspeed, especially if it's accumulated enough boosts. Access to several coverage moves also makes it very unpredictable, and it can even beat its usual checks and counters if it's carrying the right move!

Air Lock Prevents Weather Effects

Rayquaza's Air Lock Ability prevents the secondary effects of Weather, such as the Special Defense boost from Sandstorm, Speed boost from Chlorophyll and Swift Swim, and the accuracy boost Blizzard gets from Hail - to name a few.

This has its own advantages and disadvantages; while Rayquaza can put a stop to Swift Swim and Cholorphyll sweepers by just entering the match, it also doesn't get any accuracy boosts from its own Hurricane or Blizzard.

Air Lock also prevents the secondary effects of its Max Moves, such as Max Geyser, Max Flare, and Max Hailstorm.

How to Build a Team with Rayquaza

Rayquaza's ability to turn the tide of the battle through its offensive presence and Air Lock Ability makes it a great Dynamax Pokemon for more balanced team compositions, as well as offensive-oriented parties going up against Weather-based teams.

Use it as a Lead Dynamax for Offensive Teams

Both Physical and Special variants of Rayquaza are a great choice for Lead Dynamax in a hyper offense team as it can establish early game offensive momentum with Max Airstream.

Example Build Team

Lead Dynamax Offensive Pivot Choice Scarf / Revenge Killer
Rayquaza ImageRayquaza Heatran ImageHeatran Galarian Darmanitan ImageGalarian Darmanitan

Rayquaza has great synergy with Steel-types such as Heatran as both complement each other's typings - with Rayquaza switching into Ground-types while Heatran covers the Sky High Pokemon's Fairy and Ice-type Weakness.

Heatran also deters opposing physical attackers, especially setup sweepers with its ability to spread burns with Lava Plume. It can also trap slower defensive Pokemon with Magma Storm.

Galarian Darmanita fills the role of a late-game cleaner and revenge killer with Choice Scarf, and is used to handle faster Dragon-types such as Dragapult. It also has great synergy with Heatran.

How to Build an Offensive Team

Counters for Rayquaza

Overpower it with Ice-type Moves

Rayquaza's glaring 4 x Weakness to Ice-type moves and mediocre mixed defenses make it very vulnerable to revenge killers that caryy Ice-type coverage moves, especially ones that are naturally faster or are holding a Choice Scarf.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Kyogre ImageKyogre Ranking: ★★★★★
・Outspeeds Rayquaza when holding a Choice Scarf
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with Ice Beam
Moveset & Best Build for Kyogre
Lapras ImageLapras Ranking: ★★★★★
・Gigantamax Lapras can use G-Max Resonance to set up Aurora Veil to boost its defenses
・Can wear down Rayquaza with Ice Beam
Moveset & Best Build for Lapras
Pheromosa ImagePheromosa Ranking: ★★★★
・Naturally outspeeds Rayquaza
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with Triple Axel or Ice Beam
Moveset & Best Build for Pheromosa
Galarian Darmanitan ImageGalarian Darmanitan Ranking: ★★★★
・Outspeeds Rayquaza when holding a Choice Scarf
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with Gorrila Tactics boosted Icicle Crash
Moveset & Best Build for Galarian Darmanitan
Calyrex (Ice Rider) ImageCalyrex (Ice Rider) Ranking: ★★★★
・Has enough bulk to shrug off Rayquaza's coverage moves
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with STAB Avalanche
Moveset & Best Build for Calyrex (Ice Rider)

Check it with a Bulky Steel-type Pokemon

Rayquaza also has trouble handling bulky Steel-types, with some even shrugging off its Fire-type coverage moves. These Pokemon can take a hit from Max Airstream upon switching and can then force Rayquaza to switch with their coverage moves.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Zacian ImageZacian Ranking: ★★★★★
・Naturally outspeeds Rayquaza
・Can switch into Outrage or Draco Meteor thanks to its immunity to Dragon-type moves
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with Play Rough or Behemoth Blade during Dynamax
Moveset & Best Build for Zacian
Necrozma (Dusk Mane) ImageNecrozma (Dusk Mane) Ranking: ★★★★★
・Easily KOs Rayquaza with Stone Edge
・Its Prism Armor Ability lowers the damage of Rayquaza's super effective coverage moves by 25%
Moveset & Best Build for Necrozma (Dusk Mane)

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