VGC18 Pokémon Analysis – Incineroar

Written by Zac Emerzian

Championships Battle Season 8 Ranking: 13th
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Unweighted: 24th (6.86516%)
1500: 19th (8.10672%)
1630: 19th (8.80243% )
1760: 18th (9.67893%)


The fighting feline Incineroar is back with a vengeance in VGC 2018! With a more open format and Landorus-T stealing back the title of top Intimidator from Arcanine, teams now have more options for a Fire-type Pokémon on their team. Fire-types are best when they can bring something other than their typing to the table, thankfully for Incineroar, it brings quite a lot. With its secondary Dark-typing, excellent bulk, and access to Fake Out as well as other support moves to differentiate it from the likes of Charizard and Heatran.

Incineroar has very solid matchups against many troublesome Pokémon in this new format. Steel-types like Aegislash, and the rising star Mega Metagross fail to do significant damage to Incineroar (aside from Stomping Tantrum), and fear it’s Dark and Fire-type STAB attacks. Incineroar can also resist Mega Charizard-Y and use it’s Dark-type STAB options to prey on Charizard-Y’s weaker defense. Popular picks from the past, such as Mega Mawile, Cresselia, Gothitelle, Ferrothorn, Amoonguss, and Mega Gengar all struggle to deal with Incineroar’s phenomenal offensive and defensive typing.

Notable Moves

Fake Out

Arguably the most important move on Incineroar, with only Salazzle and Infernape being the other Fire-types having access to Fake Out. Incineroar’s superior bulk over the other two allows it to more easily switch in and out and get the most out of Fake Out, helping it’s team set up or stop a threat in its tracks. Incineroar also has the added bonus of having a decent matchup against Tapu Lele, who plagues other Fake Out users like Scrafty.

Flare Blitz

As Incineroar has a higher attack than special attack stat, Flare Blitz is its go to Fire STAB move. Furthermore, like Arcanine in VGC 2017, the recoil that Flare Blitz inflicts on the user can help Incineroar get its HP under 25% in order to activate a pinch berry, a common item on it. Incineroar can also use Flare Blitz recoil to more safely get into Blaze HP range (less than ⅓ max HP) and power up its future Fire moves.

Darkest Lariat

Incineroar’s signature move is one of many Dark-type STAB options worth running. Beyond dishing out the most consistent damage, Darkest Lariat is notable for its ability to bypass the target’s defense and evasion boosts.  Running Darkest Lariat also gives Incineroar access to its signature Z-Move, Malicious Moonsault, which is stronger than the conventional Black Hole Eclipse.

Knock Off

The second option for Incineroar’s Dark STAB. While less consistent than Darkest Lariat, the added bonus of being able to remove the target’s item, such as pinch berries and choice items, makes this option worth consideration.

Throat Chop

An underappreciated Dark-type option, Throat Chop has comparable power to Darkest Lariat, but allows Incineroar to prevent its target from using sound-based moves for two turns after being hit. This can allow Incineroar to prevent Roar, Hyper Voice, Clanging Scales, Parting Shot, and Perish Song, among others.


A VGC staple worth considering on any Incineroar not holding an Assault Vest.

Low Kick 

A good Fighting option that won’t lower your stats. Especially effective against the likes of Snorlax, Tyranitar, and Mega Kangaskhan.

Notable Items

Assault Vest: Pokémon with Fake Out and solid offense / bulk make great use of the increased special bulk.

Incinium Z: Combined with Darkest Lariat, it allows for a powerful attack to snag a surprise KO or muscle past threats.

Pinch Berry: Allows Incineroar to take more hits, and synergizes well with Flare Blitz’s recoil.

Firium Z: Similar to the Incinium Z, but instead does significant Fire-type damage instead.

Sample Sets

Set 1: Incinium Z

Incineroar @ Incinium Z
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 236 Atk / 12 Def / 20 SpD / 44 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
– Protect

Damage Calcs

This set provides a good mix of bulk and offense. Incinium Z allows Incineroar to threaten OHKOs on a lot of Pokémon while maintaining an offensive presence while providing team support with Fake Out. The speed is mainly to try to creep things like Celesteela, Aegislash, and Gothitelle.

Set 2: Assault Vest Tank

Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 140 Atk / 60 Def / 60 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off/Darkest Lariat
– Low Kick/Snarl

Damage Calcs

This Incineroar is significantly bulkier, as such defensive calcs took precedence over offensive calcs. The idea of this set is to support the team with Fake Out, and survive for as long as possible while getting a KO or two with Flare Blitz or Low Kick. Knock Off is slightly preferable because raw damage is not the priority of this set. Snarl is another option if your team doesn’t need the Fighting-type coverage of Low Kick.

Set 3: Berry Bruiser

Incineroar @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 196 Atk / 4 Def / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat/Knock Off
– Protect

Damage Calcs


Any Pokémon that enjoys having room to set up makes a great partner for Incineroar. Below are just a few of some of the notable Pokémon that Incineroar can be paired with. I didn’t include Volcarona and Mega Charizard-X because you typically don’t want to double up on Water, Rock, or Ground weaknesses, but it is certainly an option.


Fake Out pressure can help Incineroar’s partner survive long enough to set up a Tailwind or prevent a counter-Tailwind from the opponent. It is notable that Fake Out excels at stopping opposing Tailwinds from being set up because most Tailwind setters are not grounded and therefore can still be Faked Out while in Psychic Terrain. While still a little slow, Incineroar usually has enough speed to outspeed a number of threats in Tailwind and help provide offensive pressure to get the most out of the Tailwind turns.

  • Zapdos
  • Mega Salamence
  • Mega Charizard
  • Whimsicott
  • Kartana
  • Naganadel
  • Suicune
Trick Room

Incineroar can also be a great asset to Trick Room setters since Incineroar is slow enough to work comfortably in Trick Room after using Fake Out to help it’s partner set it up. Traditional Trick Room counters dislike Incineroar since Flare Blitz heavily threatens the likes of Amoonguss and Aegislash, while Snorlax fears the potential of Knock Off.

  • Gothitelle
  • Cresselia
  • Mega Gardevoir
  • Mimikyu
  • Stakataka
  • Porygon2

Beyond Fake Out, the setup Pokémon below enjoy Incineroar’s Fire coverage as a way to remove Grass-types like Amoonguss, Ferrothorn, and Kartana from halting Azumarill or Tapu Fini’s sweep. Flare Blitz can also remove Steel-types like Mega Mawile, Mega Metagross, and Aegislash to help Tyranitar and Mega Salamence sweep.

  • Azumarill
  • Tapu Fini
  • Tyranitar
  • Mega Salamence
  • Kommo-o


Since Incineroar is such a flexible team player and support Pokémon, it can and has found itself on many different types of teams. Below are just some ideas you can use as a starting point if you know you want to use Incineroar.

Incineroar + Tapu Fini + Kartana: Very reminiscent of the ubiquitous AFK core from VCG 2017, this core similarly has the fantastic offensive and defensive synergy that Fire-Water-Grass cores are known for. Arcanine’s Intimidate is instead traded for Incineroar’s Fake Out, allowing Tapu Fini to set up a Calm Mind or Kartana to set up a Swords Dance, Substitute, or Tailwind.

Incineroar + Naganadel + Tapu Fini: Fake Out again can be used to help set up Calm Mind or Tailwind, depending on which Pokémon Incineroar is paired with. Naganadel has great offensive synergy with Incineroar as Sludge Bomb and Hidden Power Ice are able to do significant damage to Landorus-T, Mega Salamence, and the Tapus, all things Incineroar is not the best against.

Incineroar + Gardevoir + Zapdos: Incineroar can help set up Trick Room or Tailwind in this core. Flare Blitz also compliments Gardevoir’s Hyper Voice spam since it can hit Steel-types like Mega Metagross, Aegislash, Celesteela, which resist Mega Gardevoir’s STAB attacks. Incineroar also pairs well with Zapdos’ Thunderbolt (or even Gigavolt Havoc) as Flare Blitz makes short work of pesky Grass-type like Amoonguss, Tapu Bulu, and Ferrothorn, which Zapdos can’t hit as hard, while Zapdos can deal with the Water-types that Incineroar dislikes.

A team that makes exceptional use of Incineroar is TheRazer’s team (on the Trainer Tower sample teams thread) of Mega Gardevoir, Choice Band Landorus, Ghostium-Z Aegislash, Electrium-Z Zapdos, Calm Mind Tapu Fini, and AV Incineroar. Incineroar is able to help set Tailwind from Zapdos or Trick Room from Gardevoir in order to get speed control as well as help Tapu Fini set up. The Fake Out pressure can afford Aegislash or Landorus that chance it may need to remove a threat like Charizard that might naturally outspeed them.


Bad Type Matchups 

The four Pokémon below are all common threats that naturally resist Incineroar’s STAB attacks, can fire back with super-effective moves of their own, and/or can set up for free in front of it. Tyranitar does need to watch out for a potential Low Kick, however.

  • Tapu Fini
  • Tyranitar
  • Kommo-o
  • Azumarill

Since Incineroar is primarily a physical Pokémon, Intimidate hinders it’s damage output. Also, the most common Intimidators in the format are packing resistances to Incineroar’s STAB moves and super-effective moves of their own.

  • Landorus-T
  • Salamence
  • Scrafty
  • Hitmontop

Incineroar doesn’t like rain; super-effective Water-type attacks boosted by the rain are typically too much for it to handle. However, rain teams usually have a few Pokémon weak to Fire, such as Ferrothorn and Mega Mawile, in order to further leverage the benefit rain brings to the team. So, Incineroar can sparingly be brought to rain matchups to deal with these threats, stall rain turns with Fake Out, and provide damage when possible with Dark-type attacks. While Mega Charizard-Y might be the best Fire-type to bring to a rain matchup, Incineroar is not the worst.

  • Ludicolo
  • Pelipper
  • Politoed
  • Mega Swampert
  • Kingdra

Alternative Options

While Incineroar strength partially lies in its uniqueness, there are other Pokémon that can fit the bulky Fake Out user archetype, the Fire-type Fake Out user archetype, or the bulky Fire-type archetype, but not all three at once.

Bulky Fake Out Users

  • Scrafty
  • Hitmontop
  • Alolan Persian
  • Hariyama
  • Kangaskhan
  • Ludicolo
  • Blastoise

Fire-type Fake Out Users

  • Infernape
  • Salazzle

Bulky Fire-types

  • Heatran
  • Charizard-X
  • Arcanine
  • Entei
  • Rotom-Heat


The future looks pretty bright for Incineroar, all things considered. The new 2018 format has been very kind to it so far, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. A solid stat line, a great movepool, and an incredibly useful typing for both offense and defense make Incineroar a versatile Pokémon that should not be overlooked when team building. By the time its Dream World Ability gets released, it might give Landorus-T a run for its money as the premier Intimidator.

Take a look at all our Pokémon VGC18 Analysis Articles!

Credit to All0412 for the featured image.

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