With access to Irrelephant, Donphan gains a unique niche as one of the few Ground-types capable of actively handling Flying-types. This, coupled with a base 150 Atk and 90/150/100 defenses, means that Donphan is a very dangerous Pokemon to face. It also has access to Rapid Spin, giving it another niche as a spinner. Beyond that, its wide movepool means it can smack around a large number of enemies on the switch and can fit a variety of builds onto itself.
However, Donphan is rather slow, at only base 50 speed, and while it can circumvent this slightly with Ice Shard, it still highlights the problems it faces when facing faster foes. Additionally, it is very prone to being worn down due to its complete lack of recovery, and weaknesses to common Grass and Water types do not help its case. It also suffers quite a bit from four-moveslot syndrome, as it can never seem to fit the moves it wants into each set, though Irrelephant does ease the choices made somewhat.
Nonetheless, Mega Donphan is notable for its versatility and solid tanking abilities, as well as its power, and is a decent choice on any serious team.
Final Verdict: UU, possibly BL
Set 1: Spin to Win (Offensive Spinner)
Nature: Adamant EV: 172 HP/252 Atk/84 Spe Item: Donphanite Ability: Sturdy
- Rapid Spin
- Knock Off/Body Slam
- Ice Shard/Stealth Rock
Rapid Spin is a requirement for a spinner, as it allows Donphan to remove troublesome entry hazards such as Stealth Rock and Spikes. Earthquake is the main move of choice, and with Irrelephant, hits much of the tier for at least neutral damage. Knock Off is the main coverage move of choice, allowing Donphan to remove items and add utility to its set. Body Slam is an alternate move, hitting most of the tier for neutral damage and comes with a chance of paralysis. Ice Shard is Donphan’s only priority option, allowing it to hit faster Grass and Ground types that would otherwise give it trouble. Alternatively, Stealth Rock can be considered if Donphan wants to set up its own entry hazards.
Set 2: The Killdozer (All-out attacker)
Nature: Adamant EV: 52 HP/252 Atk/204 Spe Item: Donphanite Ability: Sturdy
- Ice Shard
- Knock Off/Gunk Shot
- Gunk Shot/Seed Bomb/Body Slam
Earthquake is Donphan’s main attack, and with Irrelephant hits much of the tier very easily. Ice Shard is Donphan’s priority option, useful for picking off targets that are sufficiently weakened. Knock Off provides utility, allowing it to remove items from opponents. Gunk Shot can instead be used to punish Grass and Fairy types such as Mega Meganium, Florges and Chesnaught. Seed Bomb and Body Slam get notable mentions, as Seed Bomb allows Donphan to OHKO Swampert and deal damage to other Water types such as Suicune, Vaporeon and Alomomola, while Body Slam hits much of the tier with Irrelephant and can result in a paralysis chance.
Donphan has quite a bit to work with, but most of the moves on hand usually come with some form of drawback or struggle to fit into the moveslots. Head Smash and Double Edge can be used to get hard hits off foes, but the recoil is not appreciated. Play Rough is an option to hit Hydreigon and other Dark types harder, but it has little utility outside of that. A defensive spinner set can be considered, but is outclassed by regular Donphan, which can utilitze Leftovers to not get nearly as easily worn down.
Checks and Counters:
Water and Grass types: Many of the Water and Grass types in the tier can go toe-to-toe with Donphan, pressuring it immensely and often forcing it out. Grass types, however, do not like Ice Shard or Gunk Shot, while Water types have to be wary of Seed Bomb, and with Irrelephant, can also take quite a beating from Earthquake.
Ice types: Most Ice types can handle Donphan, but if their hits do not OHKO it off the bat, it becomes very likely that Donphan will KO them back.
Bulky setup sweepers: Pokemon such Krookodile, Suicune and Snorlax can set up easily and counter the offensive spinner set, but run into trouble when dealing with the all out attacker set, so care must be applied when using these particular Pokemon against such sets.
Pokemon with Levitate: Rotom-Heat, Hydreigon and Cresselia all deny Donphan of its strongest attack, Earthquake, owing to Irrelephant only working with type-based immunities. They can then proceed to either KO it or cripple it badly. Cresselia doesn’t like Knock Off, however, and Hydreigon must also be wary of Ice Shard and the rare Play Rough.
Let me know what you think. Anything to add, delete, change up, all appreciated.