Trainers can add one of the coolest Pokémon from the Alola region to their teams—a Midnight Form Lycanroc—to celebrate the release of Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising. This special Lycanroc will be holding a valuable Life Orb, have its Hidden Ability No Guard, and know the Egg Moves Fire Fang and Sucker Punch. And the Pokémon will have a Classic Ribbon and be in a Cherish Ball, unlike a Lycanroc captured in the wild. Check out the Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising website to find out more about how to add the Wolf Pokémon to your team.
Though Lycanroc (Midnight Form) comes battle-ready, you’ll need to work together to achieve its full potential. Read on to learn more about how to get the most out of Lycanroc. We’ll even include some QR Rental Teams via the Pokémon Global Link so you can see Lycanroc in action right away.
The Wolf Pokémon, Lycanroc
Lycanroc is a Rock-type Pokémon with excellent Attack and Speed stats, but relatively weak HP, Defense, and Special Defense. Since it’s an offensively oriented Pokémon, you can’t expect it to endure powerful attacks and continue battling. It’ll be most successful against slower Pokémon that it can quickly knock out, or against foes that are only able to deal reduced damage. And Lycanroc’s Special Attack is much weaker than its Attack, so it’s best to avoid teaching it special moves.
The No Guard Ability creates unique opportunities for Lycanroc (Midnight Form). Other frail, powerful Rock-type Pokémon like Aerodactyl are unreliable because Stone Edge and Rock Slide are less accurate than the strongest attacks of most other types. But Lycanroc is unique. No Guard prevents its attacks from missing, so you won’t have to worry about it being knocked out because a crucial Stone Edge misfires. But be careful—No Guard also prevents attacks from missing Lycanroc itself.
Deploy Lycanroc cautiously to minimize the vulnerability of its weaker defensive stats. It isn’t the sort of Pokémon that can tango with Pokémon it has a type disadvantage against. Instead, Lycanroc excels at cleaning up opponents its teammates have already weakened. Make sure you include other Pokémon on your team to help it out against Water-, Grass-, Fighting-, Ground-, and Steel-type opponents.
Taking Lycanroc into Battle
Lycanroc can be a powerful contributor to your battle teams. Here’s a sample Single Battle team you could try out at the Battle Spot:
Lycanroc’s moves and held item probably look familiar—they’re the same as the Lycanroc you can receive at GameStop. This Lycanroc’s moveset is built around Swords Dance, which increases Lycanroc’s Attack by two stages. After using Swords Dance, Lycanroc can knock out almost any opposing Pokémon, but Lycanroc’s modest defensive stats can make it tricky to use Swords Dance safely. Don’t worry—all Pokémon have weaknesses, and you can always overcome them with the right teammates.
To make it easier for Lycanroc to get rolling, we’ve included Ninetales in its Alola form—another Pokémon featured in Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising. Ninetales’s Aurora Veil reduces damage from both special and physical attacks, making it much easier for Lycanroc to survive its Swords Dance. Ninetales’s Snow Warning Ability also activates the Hail weather condition, which does a small amount of damage to most Pokémon after each turn. The damage from Hail may seem meager, but damaging Pokémon holding the popular Focus Sash item can save Lycanroc from taking extra attacks.
With Aurora Veil in play, it’s time to look for teammates that help cover Lycanroc’s type weaknesses. Charizard is a very powerful Pokémon with some unique qualities that help it fit the bill. It has a type advantage against Grass-, Fighting-, and Ground-type Pokémon, making it a great partner for Lycanroc. And after Charizard Mega Evolves, its Drought Ability can reduce the damage Lycanroc will take from Water-type attacks.
Two stars from Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising further help the team against Water-type Pokémon. Kommo-o resists Water-type attacks and provides big power with the team’s Z-Move. Tapu Koko is a great Pokémon to lead off battles when Ninetales seems like a poor fit, and it can devastate Water-type Pokémon thanks to its Choice Specs held item and Electric Surge Ability. And even if Tapu Koko winds up in a tough matchup itself, it can use Volt Switch to deal damage and switch out to a more appropriate teammate.
Teach Your Lycanroc New Tricks
You can give your Lycanroc even more bite by helping it train. And if you’d like, you could teach it different moves or give it a new held item to change up your strategy.
All Pokémon have a Nature, which makes each Pokémon unique so they each perform a little differently in battle. If you’re looking to score a Lycanroc with a specific Nature for battle—and we suggest you do—you can do so by placing a Pokémon with the desired Nature and the Synchronize Ability in the first slot of your party when you receive Lycanroc. Try using a Pokémon that has both the Synchronize Ability and an Adamant Nature (which increases Attack and reduces Special Attack) or a Jolly Nature (increases Speed, reduces Special Attack).
Next, we suggest training Lycanroc’s base stats. This Pokémon’s offensive stats are key to its performance, so focus its training on the Attack and Speed stats. After you finish with that, you should consider Hyper Training your Lycanroc. Hyper Training is only available to Lv. 100 Pokémon, but the effort you and Lycanroc put in will be rewarded. You’ll find that all of Lycanroc’s stats increase significantly after Hyper Training, making it more effective on offense and defense!
You may even want to consider teaching Lycanroc some new moves to change how it performs in battle. Lycanroc can learn Stealth Rock, a great move for Single Battles that damages Pokémon that enter battle. Lycanroc can also learn Taunt, Snarl, Rock Tomb, and Roar to disrupt its opponents, and Rock Polish to increase its own Speed. If you’re looking for different attacks, consider the flinch-inducing Rock Slide or the Fighting-type attacks Brick Break and Counter. And you’ll probably want to teach Lycanroc Protect before engaging in a Double Battle. Lycanroc can only learn some of these moves by leveling up, so take a Heart Scale to the Mount Lanakila Pokémon Center to relearn them if you’re interested.
Back to Battle
Changing up Lycanroc’s moves and held item greatly changes how it performs in battle. Here’s another Single Battle team featuring a new strategy:
Whether you’re competing in three-on-three or full six-on-six Single Battles, Lycanroc’s Stealth Rock move can be game changing. Stealth Rock damages Pokémon as they enter battle, and it does extra damage to those that are weak against Rock-type attacks. Holding Focus Sash instead of Life Orb in this instance, Lycanroc will almost always be able to use Stealth Rock successfully when it leads off a battle.
This Lycanroc can perform another powerful trick against Fighting- or Ground-type attacks because of its Focus Sash. While you’d normally want to switch Lycanroc out for a teammate if you expected an incoming Earthquake or Close Combat, Focus Sash enables Lycanroc to take the blow. And not only does the item ensure that Lycanroc will survive with 1 HP remaining, it allows the Pokémon to return double the damage it received using Counter. This trick only works against physical attacks, and only if Lycanroc starts at full health, but it can swing a battle instantly if you pull it off.
Even with Counter available, Lycanroc will be most successful with teammates that can help overcome its type disadvantages. We’ve included Venusaur on this team, a Pokémon that is excellent against most Water-, Grass-, and Fighting-type Pokémon. Gyarados provides further coverage against Fighting- and Ground-type Pokémon, and its Intimidate Ability is a welcome addition to any team. Tapu Koko appears again on this team, and this time it is joined by Tapu Lele, which is also featured on one of Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising’s most desired cards. Tapu Lele’s Psychic Surge Ability combines brilliantly with the Psychic-type Metagross, which also offers an alternate option for Mega Evolution.
Make It Double
Lycanroc can be a fun addition to your team in Double Battles, too. Here’s a team featuring Lycanroc that adheres to the Championships Battle format rules.
It can be tricky to help frail Pokémon like Lycanroc shine in Double Battles because you must account for two opponents each turn instead of just one. Trainers often look toward one of two strategies to let similar Pokémon avoid damage. One method is to redirect attacks directly with the moves Follow Me or Rage Powder. The other is to make sure your Pokémon move first using speed control moves like Tailwind, Trick Room, or Thunder Wave.
Few Pokémon eligible to compete in the Championships Battle format can learn Follow Me or Rage Powder, so we’ve instead included Drifblim and its Tailwind move on this team to help speed up Lycanroc and its allies. You’ll want to start most battles with the pairing of Drifblim and Tapu Lele while using Lycanroc as one of your two reserves. Tapu Lele’s Psychic Surge Ability creates Psychic Terrain, triggering a chain of events sure to turn the battle in your favor. Drifblim will consume its Psychic Seed as soon as Psychic Terrain is created, which will then activate its Unburden Ability and double its Speed. With its Speed boosted, it’s normally easy for Drifblim to get the winds blowing in your favor by using Tailwind. Remember to keep Lycanroc ready to replace a fainted Pokémon instead of switching it into battle aggressively—it’s tough for it to make an impact in battle if it suffers an uncontested blow.
The Lycanroc on this team has been taught two new moves using TMs—Protect and Rock Slide. Protect is a staple for Double Battles. You should have Lycanroc use Protect when an opponent would be sure to knock it out, so that your other Pokémon can try to knock out the opponent instead. Rock Slide forms a powerful combination with the Speed-increasing effect of Tailwind. Lycanroc is very likely to make an opponent flinch if it can use Rock Slide before both of its opponents move, and it’ll usually deal impressive damage, too. Stone Edge remains the best way for Lycanroc to beat a single opponent, while Fire Fang helps deal with the troublesome Kartana.
Don’t forget to try out the team yourself with this special QR Code!
Now that you’ve seen some teams featuring Lycanroc, try to come up with your own strategies for this cool Pokémon to incorporate into your own teams. If you haven’t already received Lycanroc, don’t forget to check out Pokemon.com/TCG for more information about how you can add it to your collection. And remember to check back to Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon GO, video game, and Pokémon TCG tips and tournament coverage.