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Using Incineroar in VGC 2020 | Pokemon Guide

In today’s guide we will focus on Incineroar. In 2019, this Pokemon was easily the most centralizing force in the VGC metagame. At its lowest, Incineroar was used on about 75% of teams. At its peak, Incineroar was found on over 90% of teams participating in VGC.

Incineroar even remained the most popular Pokemon in rulesets that allowed legendaries like Xernas, Mega Rayquaza, Primal Groudon, and Primal Kyogre – and those last two could even hit the Fire type cat for super effective damage with their powerful signatures moves. Regardless, Incineroar always seemed to come out on top, and now it’s returned to wreak havoc in Sword and Shield.

Here is our Incineroar guide to show how you can take advantage of this metagame monster and climb the battle tower ranks. This guide is focused on the official doubles VGC format.

Why is Incineroar so good?

Being Fire and Dark type offers great offensive and defensive qualities. Being a Dark type that is not weak to Fairy and Bug is also a huge boon. Additionally, very few Pokemon have resistances to both Dark and Fire moves, and none of them are very common.

Incineroar’s excellent typing is boosted by favorable stats. An attack of 115 coupled with solid all around defenses means Incineroar is hitting hard while being hard to take down. Incineroar’s only bad stat is its speed. However, even this can be turned into an asset. Being so slow, Incineroar can often tank the opponent’s hits before getting an ally in undamaged with U-Turn or Parting Shot.

Incineroar also has Intimidate, one of the best abilities in the format. This essentially gives Incineroar and his partner additional physical bulk. Incineroar’s good movepool provides excellent utility and damage options. This gives it a decent amount of flexibility in how it’s played. Here we will go over three potential options for building your Incineroar.

Incineroar Guide

Bulky offense

  • Moves: Fake Out, Flare Blitz, Throat Chop, Parting Shot
  • Item: Iapapa Berry
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 252 HP, 252 Attack, 4 Special Defense
  • Nature: Adamant

We’ll start off this Incineroar guide with the most common build. A set like this gives Incineroar the greatest mixed bulk, while allowing for some utility and good damage output. Fake Out is a must have on any Incineroar set. The potential to shut down an enemy Pokemon is too good to pass up. Just make sure you don’t Fake Out a Pokemon you think is about to Dynamax.

Flare Blitz is the best damage option, and the recoil can even be used to activate the Iapapa Berry. Throat Chop can be replaced with Darkest Lariat. However, I generally prefer Throat Chop as it stops Hyper Voice from both Sylveon and Primarina and Parting Shot from an opposing Incineroar.

Speaking of Parting Shot, it’s a great move for lowering an opponent’s offensive stats while simultaneously allowing an ally in. This is particularly good for Incineroar as it allows it to come in later to reapply its Intimidate and Fake Out.

Incineroar can deal good damage, but with this set it should be thought of more as an offensive support. Don’t bring it as your sole damage dealer. Also be aware of opposing Defiant or Competitive Pokemon. Your Intimidate will give them an offensive boost right from the start, and leave you in an awkward situation.

Incineroar Guide

Assault Vest tank

  • Moves: Fake Out, Flare Blitz, Throat Chop, U-Turn
  • Item: Assault Vest
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 116 HP, 252 Attack, 140 Defense
  • Nature: Impish

This set is similar to the first one in many ways, the key difference being the sacrifice of damage and longevity for additional bulk. The moves all remain the same, except for U-Turn, since Assault Vest prevents the use of Parting Shot.

The stat spread is designed to take a Drain Punch from Iron Fist Conkeldurr. With the Assault Vest, Incineroar can easily survive Hydro Pump from Rotom-Wash. It even has a good chance to survive a Max Geyser if the Rotom-Wash Dynamaxes.

With this set, it’s important to stay alive and disrupt your opponents with Fake Out and Intimidate. This can all be down while also having the option to take almost any hit and switch out with U-Turn. Even with only a sliver of health, Incineroar can do a lot of work with Intimidate and Fake Out. 

Incineroar guide

Weakness Policy attacker

  • Moves: Fake Out, Flare Blitz, Throat Chop, Close Combat.
  • Item: Weakness Policy
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 228 HP, 252 Attack, 28 Speed.
  • Nature: Adamant

This set relies mostly on the element of surprise. Weakness Policy makes Incineroar a very good Dynamax option, and most opponent’s won’t expect it. With Weakness Policy activated, Incineroar becomes an offensive powerhouse. The small amount of speed investment is to outspeed other Incineroars and Tyranitar. It’s not uncommon for both to have minimal speed. 

When Dynamaxed, Incineroar can increase it’s offensive pressure with Max Fighting. Max Flare will increase the damage of Fire type attacks while lowering the damage of Water attacks. It can even utilize Max Strike for some speed control. Though it’s not as support oriented as the other two discussed here, this Incineroar still has a lot of utility options.

Without U-Turn or Parting Shot, Incineroar has a harder time getting back in to reset Intimidate and Fake Out. However, it won’t matter if your opponent’s Pokemon are all dead.

That’s it for our Incineroar guide. You can use these sets as is or with adjustments to build the Incineroar your team needs. Be sure to check out our other guides on Togekiss and the Prankster Pokemon to help you reach the top in the Battle Tower. 

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Will Newhouse

Currently enjoying being the 2nd player on my wife's Animal Crossing island and falling down the Pokemon Battle Tower ranks.
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