The combination was present in the VGC 16 season on ORAS. At first, it wasn’t a very popular duo but slowly it gained traction and ended up winning the World Championship under the guidance of Wolfe Glick. The only differences are, at least in the Sun and Moon series, Rayquaza can’t know a peculiar move, Dragon Ascent, greatly reducing its offensive presence and Kyogre can’t hold the Blue Orb making it incapable of returning to its Primal form.
The major strength of this core is the interaction between Rayquaza’s and Kyogre’s abilities (Air Lock and Drizzle respectively) and how well they deal with Groudon. They have a good type synergy and they cover most common threats together. Air Lock negates all weather-based abilities and effects, such as damage increase and decrease, direct damage from weather and secondary moves effects (like Solar Beam not having to recharge the first turn), while Drizzle summons the rain on the field for 5 turns. At first it can seem that removing the damage increase of Water type moves via Air Lock is counterproductive but, considering all the problems that can arise in a scenario like a Groudon switch in or a surprise Sunny Day, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Specifically, being able to One-Hit-Ko (or OHKO) Groudon on a switch in even with the sun on the field or negating the Speed boost Ludicolo or Venusaur have under rain and sun respectively. Further, if you need rain’s damage boost you can always switch Rayquaza out.
This legendary dragon doesn’t have other good Flying type STAB moves apart from Dragon Ascent. The Dragon type STAB is too dangerous (since it doesn’t affect Fairy type Pokémon), and it doesn’t provide good coverage, only being able to hit other dragons for super effective damage. This didn’t stop a variety of players trying out the Sky High Pokémon, given its extremely vast movepool, great priority in the form of Extreme Speed and amazing offensive statistics (both Attack and Special Attack are at base 150). Rayquaza has enough tools to be a force worthy of respect.
Rayquaza @ Assault Vest
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 108 HP / 4 Def / 92 SpA / 84 SpD / 220 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Earth Power
– Icy Wind
This set takes advantage of Rayquaza’s natural bulk and amazing movepool. With Assault Vest Rayquaza can take strong attacks and respond with the right move dealing massive amounts of damage or chip the opponent enough for your other Pokémon to come in and sweep the field.
- 92+ SpA Rayquaza Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre: 86-102 (48.8 – 57.9%) — 95.3% chance to 2HKO
- 92+ SpA Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 220 HP / 140 SpD Incineroar: 106-126 (53.5 – 63.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 92+ SpA Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 90-106 (45 – 53%) — 25% chance to 2HKO
- 92+ SpA Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 144-170 (98.6 – 116.4%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
- 92+ SpA Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Prism Armor Dusk Mane Necrozma: 78-93 (38.2 – 45.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 108 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Rayquaza: 158-188 (81.4 – 96.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 108 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Rayquaza: 102-120 (52.5 – 61.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 108 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Rayquaza: 38-45 (19.5 – 23.1%) — possible 5HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 108 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Rayquaza: 168-200 (86.5 – 103%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
Rayquaza @ Roseli Berry
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Extreme Speed
– Aerial Ace
– Iron Head
This physical set is mainly used to hit Xerneas as hard as possible. It may seem counterintuitive using a dragon to hit a strong Fairy type but there is some logic behind it: Iron Head, paired with another attack (mainly a Kyogre’s Water Spout) does enough damage to bring Xerneas in range of Extreme Speed and, thanks to Roseli Berry, this set can take a Moonblast pretty comfortably.
- 252+ Atk Rayquaza Iron Head vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 116-138 (57.4 – 68.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Rayquaza Extreme Speed vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 58-69 (28.7 – 34.1%) — 1.9% chance to 3HK
- 252+ Atk Rayquaza Aerial Ace vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Ludicolo: 168-200 (108.3 – 129%) — guaranteed OHK
- 252+ Atk Rayquaza Iron Head vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 142-168 (97.2 – 115%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Roseli Berry Rayquaza: 130-154 (71.8 – 85%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Rayquaza: 63-75 (34.8 – 41.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
The other Hoenn legendary Pokémon is the number one favorite restricted pick (currently as I am writing this article), and for good reasons; pure Water is a great defensive and offensive typing with only 2 weaknesses, as well as, type advantage on a lot of common Pokémon like Incineroar and Groudon. With access to the very powerful move, Water Spout, a great spread move in the form of Origin Pulse, good type coverage and a wonderful Ability that can be used both offensively and defensively, this Leviathan is a fantastic pick for almost every type of team.
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Origin Pulse
– Ice Beam
This is the most common Kyogre set: fast, very strong and hard to counter without the proper tools. It works so well in RayOgre teams because is an extremely effective revenge killer capable of entering the field and clearing the opposing’s field thanks to Water Spout.
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Thunder vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre: 116-138 (65.9 – 78.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Rain: 178-211 (88.1 – 104.4%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Groudon in Sun: 126-150 (60.8 – 72.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Kyogre @ Wiki Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 44 SpA / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
This is a very bulky set specifically designed to withstand the most powerful attacks the meta can throw at it. It may come in handy in difficult situations as you can switch Kyogre in without fearing massive amount of damage without sacrificing too much offensive power
- 44+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Rain: 156-184 (77.2 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 44+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Groudon in Sun: 110-132 (53.1 – 63.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 162-192 (78.2 – 92.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 204 Def Kyogre: 84-99 (40.5 – 47.8%) — guaranteed 3HKO
As in almost every team, Incineroar is the most common partner for this restricted duo, and the reason is obvious; Fake Out support, Intimidate support, strong Fire type STABS to deal with Grass type Pokémon and a series of great coverage moves like Knock Off, Snarl, Roar and many others. This coupled with great bulk and amazing Fire/Dark typing, it’s easy to understand why it is the main pick for any RayOgre team.
The next most common pick is Tsareena, a great Pokémon mainly chosen for its Ability Queenly Majesty that blocks all priority attacks directed to your side of the field. Tsareena is preferred over Tapu Lele because you can block priorities even on levitating Pokémon, mainly Rayquaza, while at the same time, you are free to use Extreme Speed.
Tapu Lele, even if it’s redundant in a certain way if you have Tsareena, is another very common pick, especially in Events. You can block priorities, especially on Kyogre, passively even if the Guardian Deity of Akala leaves the field. It also can provide Taunt support in addition to incredibly strong Fairy and Psychic type attacks.
Tapu Koko is another Guardian Deity often chosen with the RayOgre core. It’s usually played on BattleSpot but not on Events. Tapu Koko is a great team member, Electric Terrain will protect non-floating Pokémon from falling asleep in addition to increasing the power of Electric type moves (Thunder on Kyogre comes to mind). It creates great synergy with Kyogre since the Sea Basin Pokémon summons the rain which makes the move Thunder 100% accurate instead of the normal 70%.
The most interesting and uncommon pick usually seen with this core (especially on Events) is Pheromosa, usually played as a super-fast physical attacker and as a fast U-Turn user. Jolly Pheromosa can outspeed even Choice Scarf Kyogre variants and can use U-Turn when predicting a Groudon switch in and send Rayquaza on the field, nullifying the sun negative effects on Kyogre’s Water type attacks.
Crobat isn’t an uncommon choice but it’s rarely seen doing well on events. Although, it isn’t hard to imagine why it’s used; great coverage for Xerneas with Haze and the Poison type, speed control in the form of Tailwind, Inner Focus, super-fast Taunt and good bulk.
Tornadus is an uncommon partner but one I feel like is worth pointing out. It is a great support option, especially for Kyogre with Prankster Tailwind and Rain Dance (even if it isn’t very useful thanks to Rayquaza, but it may come in handy). It deals with this core’s major threats like Xerneas with Prankster Taunt and Ludicolo with Hurricane.
The most common team archetype is the most interesting to face. It can be very easy or really hard to manage depending on the composition and if it has a weather abuser (mainly Venusaur). Usually, you want to lay down your restricted duo to scout for possible Xerneas leads and damage it as much as possible before it sets up Geomancy. If you have a Choice Scarf variant to shut it down or you will have to block its set-up. Xerneas, is a concern, especially because half of your restricted duo, Rayquaza is weak to it, and the other half, Kyogre doesn’t like to take Moonblast since most of its potential comes from it being at full HP. You must create your RayOgre variant adding more than one answer to Xerneas, especially boosted Xerneas if you don’t have a very reliable way to prevent the deer from setting up.
This is probably the worst match-up. Both the restricted are a pain to deal with if not taken care of properly but the worst part is its support members, namely Ludicolo. With access to Fake Out and the worst typing Kyogre can face, this pineapple-duck is an extremely insidious foe capable of letting Xerneas set-up relatively free or damage Kyogre, greatly reducing its damage output. Rayquaza can help mitigate this problem if you chose a physical variant with Aerial Ace or Sky-Drop. Keep in mind though that Rayquaza must be Adamant or have a power boosting item to get the guaranteed OHKO on Ludicolo. Tsareena can help against incoming Fake Out but it’s a relatively risky move if your opponent reads your play and uses a very powerful Grass Knot on your Kyogre. Kartana is the opposite, it could be very tricky to play against considering that all the viable sets bring different challenges. Assault Vest can take Water Spout and responding with a usually lethal Leaf Blade. Whereas, Focus Sash need to be double targeted to go down. This nightmarish origami is more easily dealt with a bulky and special Rayquaza variant with Flamethrower which isn’t nerfed by Kyogre’s rain.
Trick Room teams aren’t a big deal. With the right support you can stall Trick Room relatively easily given the common partners of this newly formed restricted duo. It is generally good practice to play as if Dusk-Mane Necrozma has Weakness Policy because it isn’t that simple resisting its attacks at +2 in Attack. Then again, it can be easier or harder to deal with depending on the Rayquaza set. A very bulky and especially offensive variant with Earth Power or Flamethrower can pick up the KO coupled with a Kyogre’s Water Spout. If not, you may have to find another solution for denying the Trick Room set up or quickly getting a KO on the opposing Trick Room setter, Taunt is a great but risky option if you choose to give it to Tapu Lele.
It’s uncommon but it isn’t impossible to play mirror matches, unfortunately, they come down to support options. Generally, a more support-heavy team performs better opposed to a very offensive variant. Board positioning is very important and having different ways to adjust like U-Turn or Volt Switch can turn the tide of a battle.
- Riccardo Appamea – 11th place at Frankfurt Regional: Paste | Article
- Javier Prada – 3rd place at Special Event
- Christian Schulz – 8th place at Berlin Midseason Showdown
- Michele Gavelli – 2nd place at San Dona Midseason Showdown
- Riccardo Appamea – 1st place at Offenbach
RayOgre teams have been successful historically but they are far from the glories of the past. It is greatly held down by this meta and the impossibility for Rayquaza to have access to Dragon Ascent. Although, this doesn’t mean it’s not a viable archetype. With the right support options and a good meta call, they can do very well even in big events. On top of that, it is a very fun team composition to play with, that also stands out from the same old Groudon-Xerneas teams. In my opinion, it gives more strategic options and a more dynamic play style, especially if you choose a non-Scarf Kyogre, which I can’t recommend lightly but it’s a viable option.