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Flying Pokemon make up essentially 13% of the Pokemon population. In other words, there are 93 Pokemon belonging to the flying type, which is no small number, and thus it can be quite difficult at times composing a team that doesn’t include at least one flier. Strangely enough, despite it being a common type, there’s only one pure flying-type (Tornadus) and two (due to evolution) that are half-flying (Noibat and Noivern). Altogether, it made compiling this list quite a bit of effort to chop down to the top 10. Nonetheless, when building a team for some professional/competitive play, these are some of the best Pokemon to enlist in your roster.
- Generation: First
- Pokedex #: 130
In almost every aspect of Pokemon, Gyarados is a badass. Even in regular gameplay, people are willing to deal with the headache of a Magikarp to earn themselves the monster that is Gyarados. Despite its weakness to electricity, Gyaraods is extremely bulky with intimidate, immensely cutting your opponent’s damage. Now, Gyarados might not be an impossible brick wall to overcome, but it’s not like the gameplay tactics with Gyarados were to stall to begin with. Couple his other abilities with dragon dance and you have an effective sweeper at your disposal. Sadly, flying goes out the window when going into a mega evolution, so in terms for flying-type strategists, Gyarados is actually quite underused.
- Generation: Fourth
- Pokedex #: 398
Essentially, the only bird on this list, Staraptor is a speedy high-potential killer. His style is meant to destroy walls (and essentially destroy himself in the process) and with a base 120 attack and base 100 speed, he’s extremely good at it. In this position its best to set his moves to Close-combat, return, brave-bird, and u-turn to create a ridiculous glass cannon of sorts. He might even be able to take on another due to a relatively decent HP stat of 85. What sets Staraptor apart from other birds in Pokemon is the ability Close-combat, which allows for good coverage against ice, rock, and even steel types.
- Generation: First
- Pokedex #: 149
A personal favorite since the beginning, Dragonite has proven itself a contender worthy of adoration in the OU tier. Several factors combine perfectly with Dragonite making it one of the most well-rounded powerhouses out there. Its base attack of 134 allows Dragonite to break through walls and take chunks out of a whole team with ease. Add to his strength the move Extreme Speed and you have yourself a warrior who can revenge kill powerful sweepers as well as get the first shot in on speedy Priority users like Talonflame. Dragonite even has one of the best scales with Dragon Dance and with the Multiscale ability it’s quite easy to set up that move. Couple it with elemental punches and outrage and most people won’t be too happy to find a Dragonite on your team. That is unless they have a fairy, in which case be careful.
7. Mega Pinsir
- Generation: First
- Pokedex #: 127
Pinisr really got quite the boost with its Mega form, allowing it to play as a powerful cleaner for late in the game. With its base attack in Mega form at a deadly 155, coupled with Swords Dance and Aerilate; Pinsir can one-hit KO many fast attackers (including Mega Lopunny, Mega Sceptile, and Mega Gallade) using Quick Attack. A truly deadly mix of speed and power, players can opt between a Jolly nature to epitomize speed or an Adamant nature to add a little more kick to his attacks, and relatively find themselves in control. However, a jolly nature does allow Mega Pinsir to outspeed a powerhouse like Charizard, which can be quite useful. Pinsir’s main weakness is Stealth Rock, which will set back that HP a bit, especially in Mega form, which is why you should wait to put him once you’ve dealt with such hazards.
- Generation: Fifth
- Pokedex #: 641
One of the highest threats in the OU metagame, Tornadus-T can effectively take down opponents who are even resistant to flying (perhaps because he is a pure flying and would be too weak otherwise). This is due to its ability to strike hard with moves like Hurricane and U-turn and quickly with its base speed stat of 121. In addition to the offensive strategies that best suit Tornadus-T, one can appropriately equip the Assualt Vest to create a versatile attack pivot. Essentially, you’ll have yourself a Pokemon that deals good damage and rotates your offensive line with ease. However, its flying status still leaves it weak to Stealth Rock and overall it can’t hold out for too long.
- Generation: Fifth
- Pokedex #: 645
In the Uber tier Landorus is an epic wall breaker to have on your team. Equipped with a Life Orb and the Sheer Force ability, Landrous’s Earth Power can hit for a lot of damage. If you also include Knock Off into that moveset, then you’ll be able to hamper switch ins by removing their items. Immunity to Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and any ground-type attack is definitely a plus when using Landorus. The ability to neutralize Stealth Rock is also a pretty nice cushy bonus to have as well. Its base speed also allows it to get in a shot on many of the stronger Ubers, such as Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre, and Rayquaza. Nonetheless, Landorus is still more of a glass cannon than a tank. Its health and defenses are rather frail and a few hits are all that’s needed to take Landorus out. Understanding which Pokemon to team Landorus up with and being able to time switch-ins are a must for those wishing to master using this particular Pokemon.
4. Mega Charizard Y
- Generation: First
- Pokedex #:6
Mega Charizard Y’s Fire STAB and base 159 special attack already present this fine creature to us as a wallbreaker. However, the bringing out all of its moves and stats into the spotlight is its ability Drought, which can boost Fire Blast to the point of one-hit KO’ing most in the in the OU tier. The fact that Mega Charizard Y can also perform Solar Beam and Roost allows it to check water-types and as well as lessen the effects of Stealth Rock. The overall effect is that you have the strongest wallbreaker in the OU tier. There truly are only a few Pokemon that can hamper Charizard Y from destroying a team, but it is easy enough to have supports that will take out such threats as Latios, Latias, Dragonite, and Chansey. More worrisome that any of the opponent’s Pokemon is just whether or not you’ll land the hit.
- Generation: Second
- Pokedex #: 249
Lugia is a wall. Lugia is a massive white and blue wall that can slow enemies down to a halt. With base defense at 130 and special defense at 154, access to reliable recovery, and the ability Multiscale; Lugia’s health rarely budges. Between Reflect, Whirlwind, and Roost it really is hard to get any type of damage as the moveset handles sweepers pretty well, and can even aid teammates. Despite its immovable stature, you’ll most likely find Lugia only on teams that focus on stalling or are just extremely well-balanced. This is because Lugia’s main form of attack comes from the use of toxic, which of course works well for a staller and can wear down something like a Primal Groudon. However, the lack of offense leaves Lugia susceptible to taunt.
- Generation: Third
- Pokedex #: 384
Since Mega Rayquaza is essentially a god-like legendary when it comes down to competitive play and has fallen into the channel of anything goes, with its base and special attack both at 180, let’s focus on base Rayquaza for Uber tiers. Though not too insanely powerful, Rayquaza is still a Pokemon you won’t be happy to see on the other team. Breaking walls is its specialty with its attack and special attack holding to a beastly 150. With Dragon Ascent most walls will go down with two hits. One of the few who can actually withstand more than two is the multi-scale Lugia described above. However, Rayquaza wouldn’t be this high up on the list if it was a one-trick pony. Its entire moveset is exceptional. V-create, Draco Meteor, Extreme Speed, and Earthquake to create a mixture of power, easy revenge killing, and the ability to hit any would-be checks. You can also mix in Swords Dance or Dragon Dance to boost power. Its only weakness is of course, Stealth Rock (as is with most fliers), and the necessity to usually equip it with Life Orb.
1. Mega Salamence
- Generation: Third
- Pokedex #: 373
With its mega evolution coming alive in ORAS, Salamence finally emerged as an offensive powerhouse in the Uber tier. Base 120 speed combined with a base 145 attack makes Mega Salamence pretty powerful as is. However, it’s when Salamence’s moves are backed up by the Aerilate ability that it becomes a true threat on the field. With Intimidate on the pre-mega Salamence, a player is not only able to create an extreme attacker, but a brawler who is extremely hard to revenge kill. Salamence has bulk and can stay in a fight for pretty long, especially if you have teammates and skills to check Stealth Rock. The main threat is ice, which will do 4x the damage. Nonetheless, Salamence can really be brought onto any offensive team or act as the primary hitter for a more well-rounded team.
Let’s remember that a great deal of competitive play in the Pokemon world revolves around a team’s dynamic as well as the ability to guess the opponent’s move. If you can’t guess what your opponent will do, then it really doesn’t matter who’s on your time. You could pick a crazy OP OU powerhouse and still get knocked out, because you assumed you could just go in with a rudimentary strategy. With all that said, are there any flying-type Pokemon you love to use and think can outperform the ones listed above?